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Reduced food intake is an important clinical sign that can result from a myriad of chronic diseases (eg, CKD, congestive heart failure, cancer, or liver disease) as well as acute illness or injury. Reduced food intake can lead to insufficient intake of calories and other nutrients, weight loss, muscle loss (cachexia), and, ultimately, poor outcomes. 1,2 In addition, reduced or altered food intake is obvious to pet owners and is an important factor when owners assess a companion animal's quality of life. 3,4

It is important for veterinary health-care teams to be aware of and to take steps to

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess the clinical accuracy of 2 serum-based assays and 1 saliva-based assay for detection of adverse food reaction (AFR) in dogs without clinical signs of disease.

ANIMALS

30 healthy client-owned dogs.

PROCEDURES

Dog owners completed an online survey to collect comprehensive information about their pets' diet history. From each dog, serum and saliva samples were obtained and submitted for AFR testing by means of 3 assays that assessed the immunoglobulin response to 24 foods. Assays A and B measured food allergen–specific IgE concentrations in serum, whereas assay C measured food allergen–specific IgA and IgM concentrations in saliva. Descriptive data were generated, and Fisher exact tests were used to assess the respective associations between positive test results and specific food ingredients to which dogs were exposed.

RESULTS

Assays A, B, and C yielded positive results for 26, 18, and 30 dogs, respectively. All dogs had positive results for at least 1 assay. The median (range) number of foods or ingredients to which dogs tested positive was 10.5 (0 to 24) for assay A, 1 (0 to 13) for assay B, and 12.5 (4 to 22; IgM) and 3 (0 to 24; IgA) for assay C. Positive test results were not significantly associated with prior food exposure.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Saliva and serum assays for AFR often yielded positive results for apparently healthy dogs and are not recommended for clinical use. Elimination diet trials remain the gold standard for diagnosis of AFR in dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate marketing claims, ingredients, and nutrient profiles of over-the-counter diets marketed for skin and coat health of dogs.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample—24 over-the-counter dry and canned diets marketed for skin and coat health of dogs.

Procedures—Data on marketing claims and ingredients were collected from diet packaging and manufacturer websites. Concentrations of selected nutrients were obtained by contacting the manufacturers and were compared against minimum values for Association of American Feed Control Officials Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for adult dog maintenance based on calorie content.

Results—Most diets incorporated marketing terms such as digestive health, sensitive, or premium that are poorly defined and may have limited relevance to skin, coat, or general health. The types and numbers of major ingredients (ie, potential to contribute protein to the diet) differed. The total number of unique major ingredients in each diet ranged from 3 to 8 (median, 5.5), but the total number of unique ingredients in each diet ranged from 28 to 68 (median, 38). Concentrations of nutrients associated with skin and coat condition also differed widely.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the large variation among over-the-counter diets marketed for skin and coat health may cause confusion for owners during diet selection. Owners of a dog with dermatologic problems should consult their veterinarian to select a good-quality diet that meets specific nutrient goals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;246:1334–1338)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association