Idiopathic epilepsy is a condition defined by chronic, nonprogressive, recurrent seizures not attributable to other specific neurologic abnormalities. Several nutritional strategies have been proposed to help control seizures in epileptic canine patients; however, research supporting these nutritional strategies is often lacking. Epileptic dogs may also have concurrent diseases or be at risk of complications caused by medications; these factors can be addressed by use of a comprehensive nutritional management plan. In addition, the effect of nutrient-drug interactions as well as the impacts of body composition and dietary consistency on the pharmacokinetics of commonly used therapeutic compounds should be considered.
Objective—To determine measured crude protein (CP) and amino acid (AA) concentrations and assess labeling adequacy of vegetarian diets formulated for dogs and cats.
Sample—13 dry and 11 canned vegetarian diets for dogs and cats.
Procedures—Concentrations of CP and AAs were determined for each diet. Values were compared with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles. Product labels were assessed for compliance with AAFCO regulations.
Results—CP concentration (dry-matter basis) ranged from 19.2% to 40.3% (median, 29.8%). Minimum CP concentrations for the specified species and life stage were met by 23 diets; the remaining diet passed appropriate AAFCO feeding trials. Six diets did not meet all AA minimums, compared with the AAFCO nutrient profiles. Of these 6 diets, 1 was below AAFCO minimum requirements in 4 AAs (leucine, methionine, methionine-cystine, and taurine), 2 were below in 3 AAs (methionine, methionine-cystine, and taurine), 2 were below in 2 AAs (lysine and tryptophan), and 1 was below in 1 AA (tryptophan). Only 3 and 8 diets (with and without a statement of calorie content as a requirement, respectively) were compliant with all pet food label regulations established by the AAFCO.
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Most diets assessed in this study were not compliant with AAFCO labeling regulations, and there were concerns regarding adequacy of AA content. Manufacturers should ensure regulatory compliance and nutritional adequacy of all diets, and pets fed commercially available vegetarian diets should be monitored and assessed routinely.
Objective—To determine whether water content in a canned food diet induces decreases in voluntary energy intake (EI) or body weight (BW) in cats fed ad libitum.
Animals—16 sexually intact male domestic shorthair cats.
Procedures—Maintenance EI was determined for 2 months in 10 weight-stable cats consuming a control diet (typical colony diet). Cats were allocated into 2 groups of equal BW and fed a canned diet (with-water [WW] diet) or a freeze-dried version of the canned diet (low-water [LW] diet) twice daily. Diets were identical in nutrient profile on a dry-matter basis. Each dietary treatment period of the crossover experiment lasted 3 weeks, with a 3-week washout period between diets. Body composition measurements were determined by use of deuterium oxide at the end of each dietary treatment. Daily food intake was measured for determination of dry-matter intake and EI. Six other cats were used in preference tests for the 3 diets.
Results—EI was significantly decreased for the WW diet (mean ± SD, 1,053.0 ± 274.9 kJ/d), compared with EI for the LW diet (1,413.8 ± 345.8 kJ/d). Cats had a significant decrease in BW during consumption of the WW diet. Body composition was unaltered by diet. In short-term preference tests, cats ate significantly more of the WW than the LW diet.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Bulk water in the WW diet stimulated decreases in EI and BW in cats. The impact of water content on energy density and food consumption may help promote weight loss in cats.
Objective—To determine signalment, history, clinical
signs, blood and plasma taurine concentrations, electrocardiographic
and echocardiographic findings,
treatment, and outcome of dogs with low blood or
plasma taurine concentrations and dilated cardiomyopathy
Animals—12 client-owned dogs with low blood or
plasma taurine concentrations and DCM.
Procedure—Medical records were reviewed, and
clinical data were obtained.
Results—All 12 dogs were being fed a commercial
dry diet containing lamb meal, rice, or both as primary
ingredients. Cardiac function and plasma taurine
concentration improved with treatment and taurine
supplementation. Seven of the 12 dogs that were still
alive at the time of the study were receiving no cardiac
medications except taurine.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that consumption of certain commercial diets may
be associated with low blood or plasma taurine concentrations
and DCM in dogs. Taurine supplementation
may result in prolonged survival times in these dogs,
which is not typical for dogs with DCM. Samples should
be submitted for measurement of blood and plasma
taurine concentrations in dogs with DCM, and taurine
supplementation is recommended while results of
these analyses are pending. (J Am Vet Med Assoc
Objective—To test the quality, disintegration properties, and compliance with labeling regulations for representative commercially available taurine and carnitine dietary products.
Sample Population—11 commercially available taurine and 10 commercially available carnitine products.
Procedures—For each product, the amount of taurine or carnitine was determined and compared with the label claim. All products were evaluated for concentrations of mercury, arsenic, and selenium. Disintegration properties of 5 taurine and 8 carnitine products were determined in vitro. Labels were evaluated for compliance with FDA guidelines.
Results—10 of 11 taurine and 10 of 10 carnitine products were within 10% of the stated label claim. Three of 11 taurine and 6 of 10 carnitine products were within 5% of the stated label claim. The median percentage difference between laboratory analysis and label claim was −5.7% (range, −26.3% to 2.5%) for taurine and 3.6% (range, −2.6% to 8.8%) for carnitine. No substantial amount of contamination with mercury, arsenic, or selenium was found in any of the products. During disintegration testing, 1 of 5 taurine products and 5 of 8 carnitine products did not disintegrate within 45 minutes during at least 1 test. Disintegration time for those that did disintegrate ranged from 1.7 to 37.0 minutes. All product labels conformed with FDA regulations.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Taurine and carnitine products evaluated in this study closely adhered to manufacturer claims and labeling guidelines. However, disintegration testing suggested high variability in some products, possibly limiting uptake and use by animals that receive them.
Objective—To assess differences among reported maximum crude fiber (CF), measured CF, and measured total dietary fiber (TDF) concentrations, and determine fiber composition in dry and canned nontherapeutic diets formulated for adult maintenance or all life stages of dogs.
Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.
Sample—Dry (n = 20) and canned (20) nontherapeutic canine diets.
Procedures—Reported maximum CF concentrations were obtained from product labels. Concentrations of CF and TDF were measured in samples of the diets for comparison. For each diet, percentages of TDF represented by insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) and soluble dietary fiber (SDF) were determined.
Results—For dry or canned diets, the median reported maximum CF concentration was significantly greater than the median measured value. Measured CF concentration was significantly lower than measured TDF concentration for all diets. Median percentage of TDF (dry-matter basis) in dry and canned diets was 10.3% and 6.5%, respectively (overall range, 3.9% to 25.8%). Fiber composition in dry and canned diets differed; median percentage of TDF provided by IDF (dry-matter basis) was 83.4% in dry diets and 63.6% in canned diets.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among the evaluated diets, measured CF concentration underrepresented measured TDF concentration. Diets provided a wide range of TDF concentration, and proportions of IDF and SDF were variable. In the absence of information regarding TDF concentration, neither reported maximum nor measured CF concentration appears to be a particularly reliable indicator of fiber concentration and composition of a given canine diet.
To evaluate home-prepared maintenance diet (HPMD) recipes for cats and compare the nutritional profiles with National Research Council (NRC) recommended allowances (RAs) for essential nutrients for adult cats.
114 recipes (obtained from books and online sources) for HPMDs for cats.
Computer software was used to determine nutrient concentrations of HPMD recipes for comparison with NRC RAs for essential nutrients for adult cats. Effects of recipe authorship (veterinarian vs nonveterinarian) and supplementation on the number of nutrient concentrations below RAs were evaluated.
Of the 114 HPMD recipes, 113 contained vague instructions regarding preparation, and 46 did not provide feeding directions. Only 94 recipes provided adequately detailed information for computerized nutritional analysis, although most (93/94) still required assumptions regarding ingredients, preparation, or supplementation. Nonveterinarian-authored recipes and recipes without supplement-type products had more nutrient concentrations below NRC RAs, but no recipe met all RAs. With assumptions, 5 veterinarian-authored recipes met NRC RAs for all assessed nutrients except choline; however, taurine adequacy in 2 of those recipes could not be confirmed. Crude protein concentration was below the RA in 6 of 94 (6.4%) recipes. Nutrients most frequently below RAs included choline, iron, thiamine, zinc, manganese, vitamin E, and copper (in 89.7%, 76.6%, 62.8%, 61.7%, 57.4%, 57.4%, and 45.7% of recipes, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Problems with nutritional adequacy were identified in all evaluated HPMD recipes. Appropriate formulation of HPMDs requires specialized knowledge of nutrition and use of computer software to avoid potentially harmful nutrient deficiencies.
Objective—To establish comprehensive reference ranges for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations in healthy adult cats eating commercial diets and to evaluate the relationships of age, sex, body weight, body condition score (BCS), dietary protein concentration, and dietary ingredients with plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations.
Animals—120 healthy adult cats.
Procedures—Blood samples and a complete health and diet history were obtained for each cat, and reference intervals for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations were determined. Results were analyzed for associations of age, breed, sex, body weight, BCS, use of heparin, sample hemolysis and lipemia, dietary protein concentrations, and dietary ingredients with amino acid concentrations.
Results—95% reference intervals were determined for plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations. A significant difference in amino acid concentrations on the basis of sex was apparent for multiple amino acids. There was no clear relationship between age, BCS, body weight, and dietary protein concentration and amino acid concentrations. Differences in amino acid concentrations were detected for various dietary ingredients, but the relationships were difficult to interpret.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—This study provided data on plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations for a large population of adult cats eating commercial diets. Plasma amino acid and whole blood taurine concentrations were not affected by age, BCS, or body weight but were affected by sex and neuter status. Dietary protein concentration and dietary ingredients were not directly associated with plasma amino acid or whole blood taurine concentrations.
Objective—To determine the body condition score (BCS) distribution for dogs examined at a teaching hospital and examine whether the BCS distribution for dogs with cancer differed significantly from the distribution for dogs without cancer.
Sample Population—1,777 dogs with cancer and 12,893 dogs without cancer.
Procedures—A retrospective prevalence case-control study was conducted that used medical records from 1999 to 2004. Information was collected on BCS (9-point system), age, breed, sex, neuter status, diagnosis, and corticosteroid administration. Body condition score at the time of examination for cancer (dogs with cancer) or first chronologic visit (dogs without cancer) was recorded. Logistic regression was used to compare BCS prevalence distributions between groups.
Results—The overall prevalence of obese dogs (BCS ≥ 7/9) was 14.8% (2,169/14,670), and the overall prevalence of overweight dogs (BCS ≥ 6/9 to < 7/9) was 21.6% (3,174/14,670). There was a significant difference in the BCS distribution between dogs with and without cancer, with a slightly lower prevalence of being overweight and obese in dogs with cancer. The prevalence of obese and overweight dogs varied with specific cancer types when compared with the prevalence for dogs without cancer.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Differences in obesity prevalence among cancer types is suggestive of an incongruous effect of this variable on cancer expression or a differential effect of specific cancer types on weight status. Systematic use of BCSs will help elucidate the association between obesity and cancer development.
Objective—To compare the nutrient composition of commercially available dog milk replacers with that of dog milk.
Design—Prospective, cross-sectional study.
Sample—5 dog milk samples and 15 samples of commercial dog milk replacers.
Procedures—Dog milk and milk replacers were analyzed for concentrations of total protein, essential amino acids, sugars, total fat, essential fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus. Energy density was calculated. Results from milk replacers were compared with the range of the concentration of each nutrient in milk samples from mature dogs as well as the National Research Council (NRC) recommendations for puppy growth.
Results—Milk replacers varied widely in caloric density and concentration of nutrients such as calcium, protein, and fat. Calcium concentration was lower in 14 of 15 milk replacers than in the dog milk samples. Docosahexaenoic acid was undetectable in 12 of 15 milk replacers but present in all dog milk samples. All milk replacers had numerous essential nutrients outside of the range of the dog milk samples, and many had concentrations of amino acids, essential fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorus less than the NRC minimal requirement or recommended allowance. Compared with NRC recommendations, some dog milk samples had concentrations of total protein, linoleic acid, calcium, or phosphorus less than the recommended allowance.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that there was substantial variation in nutrient composition of 15 dog milk replacers and that some products were closer approximations of dog milk than others. Nearly all products would benefit from more appropriate calcium, amino acids, and essential fatty acids concentrations and better feeding directions.