NUTRITIONAL ASSESSMENT FOR DOGS & CATS

 

Nutrition has long been recognized as an important part of the overall clinical assessment of sick, diseased and healthy pets. As profession veterinary nutritionist, we acknowledged the importance of nutrition in contributing to the well being of a pet over it's lifetime,

 

Each patient/pet is an individual

Each assessment is as unique as the individual pet, and needs to include the owner’s level of nutritional knowledge, lifestyle, age,  income, and the number of pets in the house. Also needed is information on the pet, including current health, past medical history, breed, gender, age, level of activity, temperament and detailed dietary history.

 

Pet Nutrition Systems likes to recieve a picture containing the amount of food and treats that each are giving their pet each day, a copy of the labels from these products and a picture of the pet's average fecal elimination. From this information, we can determine if the client is overfeeding or underfeeding and how much of the food being feed is actually being used by their pet.  We educate our clients on how to interpret a proper diet and evaluate what ingredients and best to deliver the esstential nutrients needed by the pet companion. Each diet plan is determine by the cost each client can afford to feed their pet per day. Together with our returned Health & Nutrition History Form, the latest blood test and a consultation a takes time, but if done properly each client will know what their pet needs and will be educated and prepared to meet those needs.  

 

For a more detailed assessment The client may want to concider one of several typical tests which will show any nutrient dificiencies or excessive levels of nutrients. Here is a brief description of the most common tests available: 

 

Ancillary testing

Experienced veterinary nutritionist may use blood, saliva or hair to get a better understanding of the nutritional status of thier client's pet. Pet Nutrition Systems use these tests on the initial assessment when dealing with growing pets with developmental orthopedic disease, or a dog/cat with health problems related to nutrition or responsive to dietary changes such as allergies, diabetes, obesity and/or renal, hepatic, cancer, organ failure, cancer or any autoimmune disease.

 

1. Blood tests

A routine CBC and chemistry panel can give you some information, especially if you are monitoring a pet’s response to a nutraceutical therapy diet. You may want to include a trace mineral panel as well. Specialized blood samples that measure vitamins and hormones will likely be done on an individual basis. Inflammation can alter the values, causing plasma iron, zinc and vitamin A to drop, and plasma copper to increase. Low red counts can be associated with chronic infections. Growing puppies will have a higher level of plasma phosphorus than calcium until their growth plates close, as the level of phosphorus in the blood is highly correlated to growth hormone levels.

 

2. Saliva tests

Saliva tests are non-invasive and can be used to monitor hormone changes, keeping in mind that saliva is different for each species. The most useful saliva test measures the IgA and IgM to determine food allergies.

 

3. Hair samples

Hair samples are used to investigate the presence of trace elements and toxic metals. They also can give you a time estimate of when ingestion occurred and whether it is ongoing. For best results, PNS recommends you contact the laboratory that analyzes the hair and ask how to take a hair sample and from how many sites on the body. You must determine whether you require hair that is mature or growing.

 

The type of hair coat can influence the results, and the sample must be prepared properly to avoid external contamination. Because of breed and environmental variability, an appropriate reference standard must be used. Shedding, stage of growth, surface contamination and over-processing of the hair can lead to errors.

 

Diet analysis 

Once the nutritional evaluation of the pets body has been done our diet plan and food  diet (nutrient content) are analyzed to assure there are no imbalances, deficiencies or excesses are created. This is done in a recognized feed testing laboratory. If our client make our recipe for themselves at home and changes ingredients or ingredient sources, the analysis should be repeated. Depending on the season of the year, the soil’s nutrient composition can change, thus altering the nutrient composition of the plant material used. The season can also influence the nutrient composition of organ meats. 

 

Assessing foods

All pet owners must be familiar with the commercial food industry, how ingredients are sourced and processed, and their composition. This is necessary in order to match the claims made by the company to the quality of their ingredients. The research must be transparent and valid, and support the claims. Your pet's diets should stand out as superior in every respect, when compared to over-the-counter diets. In the case of homemade and packaged fresh food diets (frozen and dehydrated), ingredient sources, preparation, freshness and appropriate formulations must be investigated. Each diet should be species and metabolically appropriate. 

 

“Complete and Balanced” is almost meaningless

“Complete and balanced” is an industry term that has more to do with marketing than nutrition. The term suggests there is a strict standard governing the nutrient content of pet foods. But it simply means the diet has met AAFCO’s minimum nutrient standards for growth, gestation, lactation or maintenance, and/or has passed AAFCO’s feeding trials, which are minimal at best. “Balanced over time” is a term used by proponents of alternative diets, which mimic our own diets. Nutrient requirements are not static and vary with age, level of activity, season of the year, stressors, and a host of other factors that render the term “complete and balanced” meaningless.

 

By placing an emphasis on nutrition it is possible that fewer pets will be subjected to invasive diagnostic procedures and illnesses requiring drug therapy. Nutrition is the key to maximizing health. Embracing nutrition as a valuable diagnostic tool provides a lower-cost, yet effective, first line of treatment. Finally, having a professional with years of education and experience create the best diet for you is far better and in the end cheaper than guessing, comparing labels at a pet store or listening to pysdo professional on the internet.

 

For more information, a consultation or to order a diet plan with recipes or have our kitchen hand make the food contact us: