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Health- and nutrition-minded consumers have a considerable interest in and demand for natural food products, including natural foods for their pets. Natural pet food is the fastest growing segment of the pet food industry in the United States, compared with the science, grocery, and overall pet specialty segments. Sales of natural pet foods increased from $2.0 billion in 2008 to $3.9 billion in 2012. 1 Interest in natural pet foods and ingredient sourcing was fueled by the 2007 recall of pet food products adulterated with melamine and related derivatives as a result of the inclusion of Chinese-sourced wheat gluten,

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine effects of restriction feeding of a moderate-protein, high-fiber diet on loss of body weight (BW), voluntary physical activity, body composition, and fecal microbiota of overweight cats.

ANIMALS 8 neutered male adult cats.

PROCEDURES After BW maintenance for 4 weeks (week 0 = last week of baseline period), cats were fed to lose approximately 1.5% of BW/wk for 18 weeks. Food intake (daily), BW (twice per week), body condition score (weekly), body composition (every 4 weeks), serum biochemical analysis (weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16), physical activity (every 6 weeks), and fecal microbiota (weeks 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16) were assessed.

RESULTS BW, body condition score, serum triglyceride concentration, and body fat mass and percentage decreased significantly over time. Lean mass decreased significantly at weeks 12 and 16. Energy required to maintain BW was 14% less than National Research Council estimates for overweight cats and 16% more than resting energy requirement estimates. Energy required for weight loss was 11% more, 6% less, and 16% less than American Animal Hospital Association recommendations for weight loss (80% of resting energy requirement) at weeks 1 through 4, 5 through 8, and 9 through 18, respectively. Relative abundance of Actinobacteria increased and Bacteroidetes decreased with weight loss.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Restricted feeding of a moderate-protein, high-fiber diet appeared to be a safe and effective means for weight loss in cats. Energy requirements for neutered cats may be overestimated and should be reconsidered.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether gonadectomy or age at gonadectomy was associated with the risk that dogs would subsequently become overweight.

Design—Retrospective cohort study.

Animals—1,930 dogs gonadectomized between 1998 and 2001 at ≤ 6 months of age (n = 782), > 6 months to ≤ 1 year of age (861), or > 1 to ≤ 5 years of age (287) and 1,669 sexually intact dogs.

Procedures—Dogs were followed-up through medical records for ≥ 10 years or until a diagnosis of overweight (defined as overweight, obese, or having a body condition score ≥ 4/5) was recorded. Information extracted included age at study entry, sex, breed, breed-size category, hospital visit frequency, and diagnosis (yes or no) of overweight or diseases that might affect body condition. Relative risk of a diagnosis of overweight was assessed among age groups of gonadectomized dogs and between gonadectomized and sexually intact dogs.

Results—No difference was detected among dogs grouped according to age at gonadectomy with respect to the risk of being overweight. This risk was significantly greater in gonadectomized dogs than in sexually intact dogs, but only during the first 2 years after gonadectomy. Sexually intact male dogs were approximately 40% less likely to have this diagnosis (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.72) than were sexually intact female dogs; no difference in risk between the sexes was evident for gonadectomized dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gonadectomized dogs had a greater risk of being overweight than did sexually intact dogs, but this risk was not influenced by age at gonadectomy. Opportunities exist for veterinarians to provide counseling during the first years after gonadectomy to help dogs maintain a healthy weight.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To quantify changes in endothelium-derived factors and relate those changes to various aspects of digital hemodynamics during the prodromal stages of carbohydrate overload (CHO)-induced laminitis in horses.

Animals—20 adult horses without abnormalities of the digit.

Procedures—Digital and jugular venous blood samples were collected at 1-hour intervals (for assessment of endothelin-1 [ET-1] immunoreactivity and measurement of glucose, insulin, and nitric oxide [NO] concentrations) or 4-hour intervals (CBC and platelet-neutrophil aggregate assessment) for 8 hours or 16 hours after induction of CHO-associated laminitis in horses treated with an ET-1 antagonist. Effects of treatment, collection site, and time and the random effects of horse on each variable were analyzed by use of a repeated-measures model. Where treatment and collection site had no significant effect, data were combined.

Results—Compared with baseline values, CHO resulted in changes in several variables, including a significant increase from baseline in digital blood ET-like immunoreactivity at 11 hours; digital blood ET-like immunoreactivity was significantly greater than that in jugular venous blood at 8, 9, 11, and 12 hours. Digital and jugular venous blood concentrations of glucose increased from baseline significantly at 3, 4, and 5 hours; insulin concentration increased significantly at 5 hours; and the number of platelet-neutrophil aggregates increased significantly at 12 hours.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, concurrent increases in venous blood ET-1 immunoreactivity, insulin and glucose concentrations, and platelet-neutrophil aggregates support a role of endothelial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of CHO-induced laminitis.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research