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Evaluation of recipes for home-prepared diets for dogs and cats with chronic kidney disease

Jennifer A. Larsen DVM, PhD, DACVN1, Elizabeth M. Parks BA2, Cailin R. Heinze VMD, MS, DACVN3, and Andrea J. Fascetti VMD, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN4
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  • 1 Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate recipes of diets recommended for animals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), compare nutritional profiles for those recipes to requirements for adult dogs and cats, and assess their appropriateness for the management of CKD.

Design—Evaluation study.

Sample—Recipes of 67 home-prepared diets promoted for use in dogs (n = 39 recipes) and cats (28) with CKD.

Procedures—Recipes were analyzed with computer software to determine calories, macronutrient calorie distribution, and micronutrient concentrations and were assessed for appropriateness for the management of CKD.

Results—Assumptions were required for the analysis of every recipe, and no recipe met all National Research Council nutrient recommended allowances (RA) for adult animals. Compared with RAs, concentrations of crude protein or at least 1 amino acid were low in 30 of 39 (76.9%) canine recipes and 12 of 28 (42.9%) feline recipes. Choline was most commonly below the RA in both canine (37/39 [94.9%]) and feline (23/28 [82.1%]) recipes; selenium (34/39 [87.2%] canine and 9/28 [32.1 %] feline recipes), zinc (24/39 [61.5%] canine and 19/28 [67.9%] feline recipes), and calcium (22/39 [56.4%] canine and 7/28 [25.0%] feline recipes) concentrations were also frequently below recommendations. The median phosphorus concentration in canine and feline recipes was 0.58 and 0.69 g/1,000 kcal, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Many problems with nutritional adequacy were detected, and use of the recipes could result in highly variable and often inappropriate diets. Many recipes would not meet nutritional and clinical needs of individual patients and should be used cautiously for long-term feeding.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate recipes of diets recommended for animals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), compare nutritional profiles for those recipes to requirements for adult dogs and cats, and assess their appropriateness for the management of CKD.

Design—Evaluation study.

Sample—Recipes of 67 home-prepared diets promoted for use in dogs (n = 39 recipes) and cats (28) with CKD.

Procedures—Recipes were analyzed with computer software to determine calories, macronutrient calorie distribution, and micronutrient concentrations and were assessed for appropriateness for the management of CKD.

Results—Assumptions were required for the analysis of every recipe, and no recipe met all National Research Council nutrient recommended allowances (RA) for adult animals. Compared with RAs, concentrations of crude protein or at least 1 amino acid were low in 30 of 39 (76.9%) canine recipes and 12 of 28 (42.9%) feline recipes. Choline was most commonly below the RA in both canine (37/39 [94.9%]) and feline (23/28 [82.1%]) recipes; selenium (34/39 [87.2%] canine and 9/28 [32.1 %] feline recipes), zinc (24/39 [61.5%] canine and 19/28 [67.9%] feline recipes), and calcium (22/39 [56.4%] canine and 7/28 [25.0%] feline recipes) concentrations were also frequently below recommendations. The median phosphorus concentration in canine and feline recipes was 0.58 and 0.69 g/1,000 kcal, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Many problems with nutritional adequacy were detected, and use of the recipes could result in highly variable and often inappropriate diets. Many recipes would not meet nutritional and clinical needs of individual patients and should be used cautiously for long-term feeding.

Contributor Notes

Ms. Parks' present address is Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108.

Dr. Heinze's present address is Department of Clinical Sciences, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.

Dr. Larsen is an owner in DVM Consulting Incorporated, which maintains Balance IT software.

Address correspondence to Dr. Larsen (jabones@ucdavis.edu).