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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the effect of a food toy on owner-perceived quality of life (QOL) of overweight cats during a weight loss plan.

ANIMALS

44 adult cats, 1 to 10 years of age with a body condition score (BCS) ≥ 7/9.

PROCEDURES

Cats were randomly assigned to the food toy or food bowl group. Cat owners completed an initial questionnaire and received a prescribed weight loss plan, bag of dry veterinary therapeutic cat food formulated for weight loss, measuring cup, and food bowl or ball-type food toy. Body weight and BCS were checked monthly. Owners completed a monthly questionnaire to assess their cat’s QOL. Low-calorie vegetables were offered to 32 cats whose owners reported disruptive food-seeking behavior.

RESULTS

Of the 44 cats in the final analysis, 29 cats either lost ≥ 2 BCS points or achieved an ideal BCS. Owner-perceived QOL was higher at the final weigh-in, compared with that at the initial weigh-in. An effect of food toy versus food bowl on owner-perceived QOL was not detected. Of the cats offered vegetables, 28 cats would eat the vegetables with a palatability additive; 4 cats ate vegetables plain.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Owner-perceived QOL was higher at the end of the study. Feeding overweight cats by use of a ball-type food toy did not influence owner-perceived QOL. Low-calorie vegetables can successfully be added to the weight loss diet to promote satiety; albeit, a palatability additive is likely needed. Further studies regarding feeding management for cats during a weight loss plan should be explored.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Nutrition plays a fundamental role in the management of canine chronic enteropathies (CCEs). Dog owners may elect to feed home-cooked diets (HCDs) rather than veterinary commercially prepared diets (CPDs) because of perceived lower costs. There is a paucity of data comparing costs of these options. We hypothesize there will be differences in costs between complete and balanced HCDs and nutritionally comparable CPDs.

SAMPLE

6 Home-cooked diets.

PROCEDURES

Six HCD recipes (2 highly digestible, 2 limited antigen, 2 low-fat) were formulated by 2 board-certified veterinary nutritionists to mimic the nutritional and ingredient profiles of veterinary CPDs for management of CCEs. The cost (in US$ on a per 100 kilocalorie [kcal] basis) of each recipe was determined via collection of ingredient prices from 3 grocery stores combined with supplement prices from online retailers. Prices of CPDs were obtained from a national online retailer. Maintenance energy requirements of 1.6 X (70 X BWkg 0.75), where BWkg represents body weight in kilograms, were calculated for 3 dog sizes (5, 20, and 40 kg), and costs of feeding maintenance energy requirements with HCDs versus dry and canned CPDs were compared with a Kruskal–Wallis test and post hoc testing.

RESULTS

The median costs of all dry and canned CPDs and HCDs were $0.29 (range, $0.18 to $0.46), $1.01 (range, $0.77 to $1.20), and $0.55 (range, $0.35 to $1.14), respectively. Feeding complete and balanced HCDs cost more than feeding dry CPDs (P < .001), but not canned CPDs (P > .99).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Dry CPDs cost the least for nutritional management of CCEs. There is a wide range of costs for both CPDs and HCDs.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Nutrition is important in preventing and managing disease. Veterinarians are an important source of nutrition information; however, nutrition communication between veterinarians and pet owners is relatively infrequent. The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative review of barriers to nutrition communication and possible solutions, reported by small animal veterinarians.

SAMPLE

18 veterinarians from Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

METHODS

In a qualitative focus group study, 5 virtual focus groups using the Zoom platform were conducted from February 3, 2021, to April 2, 2021. Each focus group was audio recorded, and transcripts were created using Otter.ai software. Transcripts were analyzed in Atlas.ti qualitative data analysis software using a hybrid of inductive and deductive thematic analysis.

RESULTS

The 4 barriers to nutrition communication identified by veterinarians were as follows: (1) time, (2) misinformation and information overload, (3) pet owners’ apprehension toward new information, and (4) veterinarians’ confidence in nutrition knowledge and communication skills. Potential solutions include (1) improving communication and nutrition education, (2) improving and increasing access to client-friendly resources, and (3) empowering credentialed veterinary technicians and support staff to discuss nutrition.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This study provides guidance for how to focus efforts to break down barriers to nutrition communication in small animal veterinary practice.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association