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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 determine range of calorie density and feeding directions for commercially available diets designed for weight management in dogs and cats.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—93 diets (44 canine diets and 49 feline diets) that had a weight management claim with feeding directions for weight loss or implied weight management claims.

Procedures—Calorie density was collected from product labels or by contacting manufacturers. Recommended feeding directions for weight loss were compared with resting energy requirement (RER) for current body weight by use of a standard body weight (36.4 kg [80 lb] for canine diets and 5.5 kg [12 lb] for feline diets).

Results—Calorie density for the 44 canine diets ranged from 217 to 440 kcal/cup (median, 301 kcal/cup) and from 189 to 398 kcal/can (median, 310 kcal/can) for dry and canned diets, respectively. Calorie density for the 49 feline diets ranged from 235 to 480 kcal/cup (median, 342 kcal/cup) and from 78 to 172 kcal/can (median, 146 kcal/can) for dry and canned diets, respectively. Recommended calorie intake for weight loss in dogs ranged from 0.73 to 1.47 × RER (median, 1.00 × RER) and for weight loss in cats ranged from 0.67 to 1.55 × RER (median, 1.00 × RER). Diets ranged from $0.04 to $1.11/100 kcal of diet (median, $0.15/100 kcal of diet).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Wide variation existed in recommended calorie intake, kilocalories, and cost for diets marketed for weight loss in pets. This variability could contribute to challenges of achieving successful weight loss in pets.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the absolute and relative soy isoflavone content in commercial cat foods.

Sample Population—14 dry, 6 semimoist, and 22 moist commercial cat foods.

Procedure—Soy isoflavone content of each food was determined by use of acid-methanol hydrolysis and high-pressure liquid chromatography with ultraviolet absorbance detection. Isoflavones were identified and quantified by reference to authentic standards.

Results—Genistein and daidzein were the major soy isoflavones identified in 24 of 42 foods, with concentrations ranging from 1 to 163 µg/g of food. Foods labeled as containing soybean solids (16/42) had isoflavone concentrations > 11 µg/g. More dry (13/14) and semimoist (6/6) foods contained isoflavones than moist foods (5/22). Isoflavone content and food cost were negatively correlated for dry and semimoist foods but not for moist foods. Total amount of isoflavone consumed by cats fed these soy-containing foods as a sole maintenance diet was estimated to be between 0.6 and 4.5 mg/kg of body weight/d, which is comparable to concentrations in humans that result in a measurable although modest effect on serum concentrations of steroid and thyroid hormones.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Genistein and daidzein are common constituents of commercial cat foods. Predictors of isoflavone content included ingredient labeling, food type, and food cost. Soy isoflavones in some commercial cat foods were detected in amounts predicted to have a biological effect. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:181–185)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine the proportion of dog breeders who fed diets meeting the Association of American Feed Control Officials regulations for nutritional adequacy for reproduction and growth and to investigate factors that influenced feeding practices of breeders.

Design—Web-based cross-sectional survey.

Sample—2,067 dog breeders from the United States and Canada.

Procedures—A self-administered, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire was used to collect information on breeder demographics and feeding practices during 3 life stages of dogs: adult maintenance for nonpregnant dogs, gestation-lactation, and puppy growth. Appropriateness of commercial diets for each life stage was determined by respondent-reported nutritional adequacy statements on product labels. Data were also collected regarding breeder criteria for diet selection and sources of nutrition information.

Results—A substantial number of breeders reported feeding commercial diets not intended for that life stage during gestation-lactation (126/746 [16.9%]) and puppy growth (57/652 [8.7%]). Additionally, approximately one-seventh of breeders reported feeding home-prepared diets for ≥ 1 life stage. Unsubstantiated health and marketing information influenced diet selection of many breeders. Veterinarians, although generally viewed as a trusted source of nutrition information, were consulted by only 823 of 1,669 (49.3%) breeders and were viewed less favorably by breeders feeding home-prepared diets, compared with the opinion of breeders feeding commercial diets.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinarians should consider taking a more proactive role in directing dog breeders and other pet owners toward scientifically substantiated sources of diet information and in explaining the importance of current nutritional standards for reproduction and early development of dogs.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To measure thiamine concentrations in commercial canned foods formulated for cats as an initial assessment of the variation among canned foods and to determine the effects of flavor (fish vs nonfish) of the food, texture (paté vs nonpaté) of the food, country of manufacture, and size of the company on thiamine concentration.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional study.

Sample—90 canned, nontherapeutic diets formulated for cats (1 fish and 1 nonfish flavor for each of 45 brands).

Procedures—Each canned food was homogenized, and thiamine concentration was analyzed with a fluorometric method.

Results—Thiamine concentration was below the minimums of the Association of American Feed Control Officials in 12 of 90 (13.3%) foods and below the recommended allowance of the National Research Council in 14 of 90 (15.6%) foods. Paté foods had significantly lower thiamine concentrations than did nonpaté foods, and foods from smaller companies had significantly lower thiamine concentrations, compared with concentrations in foods from larger companies. Flavor of food and country of manufacture were not significantly associated with thiamine concentration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A wide range of thiamine concentrations was found in the foods evaluated. Thiamine concentration in a substantial percentage of commercially available canned foods was below the amount recommended for adult cats. Additional research on interlot and intralot variation in thiamine concentrations of foods formulated for cats is warranted. Companies should implement strict quality control and analysis practices regarding food products. Clinicians should consider thiamine deficiency as a differential diagnosis in a cat with acute neurologic dysfunction.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To compare morphometric measurements and serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) concentration in cats with and without hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), and assess the hypothesis that cats with HCM have larger body size and skeletal features and higher serum IGF-1 concentrations than healthy cats.

Animals—25 cats with HCM and 22 healthy control cats.

Procedures—Physical examination and echocardiography were performed to classify cats into the HCM and control groups. Data collected from each cat included diet history, body weight, body condition score, lengths of the humerus and 4th and 12th thoracic vertebrae, heart size, head length and width, and abdominal circumferences. Comparisons of these variables were made between groups.

Results—Body condition score in HCM-affected and control cats did not differ significantly. However, median head width; lengths of the head, 4th and 12th thoracic vertebrae, and humerus; and body weight in the HCM-affected group were significantly greater than values in the control group. Median serum concentration of IGF-1 was not significantly different between groups.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—These data suggested that among the study cats, those with HCM were skeletally larger, but not more obese, than healthy cats. Whether this was attributable to differences in early growth or other causes requires additional investigation.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether subcutaneous fat thickness measured on thoracic radiographs was associated with body condition score (BCS) in dogs.

Animals—87 client-owned dogs (41 males and 46 females) with a median age of 10.0 years (range, 1 to 16 years) and median weight of 20.3 kg (range, 3.1 to 58.0 kg).

Procedures—Age, sex, body weight, and breed were recorded. Body condition scores (scale from 1 to 9) and muscle condition scores were assigned by a single investigator. Subcutaneous fat thickness was measured at the level of the eighth rib head on a dorsoventral or ventrodorsal radiographic view of the thorax by a single investigator. Ratios of subcutaneous fat thickness to the width of the midbody of T8 on the ventrodorsal or dorsoventral radiographic view (T8 ratio) and to the length of the midbody of T4 on a right lateral radiographic view (T4 ratio) were calculated and compared with BCS by means of the Spearman correlation method.

Results—Median BCS was 6 (range, 1 to 9), and all muscle condition scores were represented. There were significant correlations between BCS and T4 ratio (r = 0.86) and between BCS and T8 ratio (r = 0.84).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that in this population, there was a significant association between BCS and subcutaneous fat thickness measured on thoracic radiographs. Findings suggested that measuring subcutaneous fat thickness could aid in the retrospective assignment of BCS in studies involving dogs in which BCS was not recorded in the medical record.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Cancer is becoming increasingly common in both human and veterinary medicine. In the United States, it has been reported that cancer accounts for approximately 1 in 4 human deaths. One in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer during their lifetime. 1 Similarly, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs > 2 years old, and in some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, the rate of death attributable to cancer is > 50%. 2

Diet can alter cancer risk in humans and laboratory animals, and many investigators are exploring nutritional strategies to prevent cancer as

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association