Latest Veterinary contents

Cats’ noses appear to function like powerful aroma analysis equipment
Cats
clock

3+ MIN

Cats’ noses appear to function like powerful aroma analysis equipment

Published in PLOS Computational Biology, the study was funded by Waltham Petcare Science Institute and led by Ohio State University, Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania.   These new findings deepen our understanding of the domestic cat's enhanced sense of smell, aiding new strategies to meet cats' food preferences.   Researchers created an anatomically accurate 3D computer simulation of a domestic cat's nose to understand how cats smell. They used a variety of techniques to create the simulation, including high-resolution micro-CT scans to generate an accurate model of a cat's nose. The simulation of air and odor flow through the virtual cat nose revealed similarities with a parallel coiled gas chromatograph.   In basic gas chromatography, the substance being analyzed is vaporized and carried by a steady flow of gas through a tube. Different chemical components in the substance interact with the tube in distinct ways, which enables them to be separated and identified.  In a cat, its complex nasal structure is made up of multiple tubes, like a parallel coiled gas chromatograph, making the process even more efficient than the basic chromatography technique.   'We have partnered with leading institutions to further understand cats' sense of smell', says Dr. Scott McGrane, sensory science expert at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. 'Computational Fluid Dynamics (or CFD) is usually used to solve engineering questions related to how fluids flow.  In our case, we have applied CFD to study airflow and how aroma compounds move through the cats' nose.  Cats' noses have a complex structure that enhances their ability to smell, akin to the snail-like coiled cochlea which we know enhances hearing sensitivity'.  'This new research shows a cat's nasal structure is about 100 times more efficient in detecting aroma compounds than having a single straight tube, which most amphibians have', Dr. McGrane added.  The study and findings deepen our understanding of cats' enhanced sense of smell and present the potential for future computational and behavioral studies on the palatability of cat food, including in the area of new sustainable protein sources.  It's a topic we are exploring through our sensory science work, which aims to further our understanding of the sense of smell and taste in cats and dogs.  Our recent research has discovered new insights into the taste perception of pets by studying the sensitivity of taste receptors using a range of approaches, including computational modelling. One study looked into bitterness and its relationship with toxicity for dogs, while another explored the kokumi taste receptor of cats, which is described as a taste enhancer rather than a taste on its own.   We are committed to using scientific research to gain a better understanding of how cats and dogs experience and enjoy the food they eat. It means we can continue meeting their needs nutritionally, while at the same time ensuring they savor their meal, for happy pets, as well as healthy pets. 

Source: Whaltam PetCare

Are Vegetarian Diets for Cats and Dogs Safe?
Veterinary
clock

3+ MIN

Are Vegetarian Diets for Cats and Dogs Safe?

 A Vegetarian Diet for Cats The cat is an obligate carnivore and has highly exacting nutritional needs, for this reason we advise owners to think very carefully before providing a vegetarian diet for their cats, and to ensure they get advice from a veterinary nutritionist. There is some commercial 'complete' vegetarian cat food available on the market. If a cat owner is intending to feed one of these products, we would recommend the owner discusses this option with their vet in the context of the individual needs of their cat. Cats have high requirements for protein and amino acids which their bodies breakdown very rapidly. If resources run low they're unable to reduce the rate of breakdown which makes them particularly sensitive to deficiencies. The particular importance of taurine (an amino acid exclusively found in animal-based proteins) in cat nutrition is well documented. It is an essential nutrient for cats and deficiency can lead to blindness and/or heart failure. Cats have minimal ability to synthesise su­fficient taurine to meet their needs and therefore require a dietary supply which is found exclusively in animal derived materials. Whilst synthetic supplements are available, these can vary in bioavailability and there is no margin for error. Arachidonic acid (an essential fatty acid) is another example of a nutrient required by cats only available from animal sources, along with preformed vitamin A (retinol) as cats cannot utilise sufficient quantities from the pro-vitamin A of vegetables. Cats also need to sustain good levels of vitamin B12 found naturally in meat. A Vegetarian Diet for Dogs Dogs are omnivores and can adapt to a well-balanced vegetarian diet. There is a wider range of commercially prepared 'complete' vegetarian dog foods available and for the majority of owners this is the safest way to feed a vegetarian diet. Once again, we advise that these feeding options are discussed with the vet or animal nutritionist.   Vegan diets for Pets Vegan foods (no animal products) should be carefully checked by a vet or animal nutritionist as they may be deficient in arginine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, taurine, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin A and some B vitamins2,3. Meticulous attention to detail would be needed to assure nutritional adequacy and palatability.   Home Prepared Vegetarian Diets for Cats and Dogs Studies have shown that nutritional errors are commonplace in many homemade diets1; providing a nutritionally balanced, homemade vegetarian diet is a complicated task that would require meticulous planning and a specific formulation from a vet or animal nutritionist – particularly for cats. A survey of 86 vegetarian dogs in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium found that over 50% of the dogs were fed diets deficient in protein, essential amino acids, calcium, zinc and vitamins D and B122. Dietary deficiencies can have a significant impact on long term health and well-being.
Source: FEDIAF   1 University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine 'Homemade dog food recipes can be a risky business, study finds' (15 July 2013) 2 A Field Study on the Nutrition of Vegetarian Dogs and Cats in Europe. Jan 1998-Dec 1999. E. Kienzle, R Engelhard. 2 Dwyer JT. Nutritional consequences of vegetarianism. Annual reviews of nutrition 1991: 11: 61-69. 3 McDonald P, Edwards RA, Greenhalgh JFD, et al. Evaulation of foods – protein. In: Animal Nutrition, 5th ed. Harlow (Essex), UK: Longman Scientific and Techincal, 1995.

What to Know About the Mysterious Respiratory Illness Affecting Dogs
Dogs
clock

3+ MIN

What to Know About the Mysterious Respiratory Illness Affecting Dogs

A mysterious respiratory illness that has been sickening dogs continues to spread across the United States while veterinarians try to determine its causes and the best methods for treating it. The symptoms are similar to kennel cough, an upper respiratory infection, but can last much longer and, in some cases, prove fatal, according to veterinarians. Here is what we know:   What are the symptoms? The infected dogs develop a cough, fever, lethargy and intermittent loss of appetite. While infected, some dogs will develop pneumonia. Veterinarians have reported seeing blue and purple gums in those cases. Dogs with kennel cough may show some of these symptoms, such as coughing, lack of appetite, fever and lethargy. If it's kennel cough, the symptoms usually clear up in one to three weeks. With the latest respiratory illness, however, veterinarians are reporting that dogs can have symptoms for six weeks or more.   Where has this been reported? The illness has been found in at least seven states: Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maryland and Wyoming. It's unclear how many dogs in total have been infected, because there is no official count of the cases.   The cause is not clear It's unclear what causes the illness. Researchers are still running tests to learn more about the illness. There is some disagreement on whether the illness is caused by a virus or by bacteria. Dr. David Needle, senior veterinary pathologist at the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of the University of New Hampshire, said that he believed the illness was being caused by a bacteria, based on what he had seen in his area. Some veterinarians in Oregon hypothesize that it could be viral, because the dogs they have treated have not responded to antibiotics. 'I'm open to it being either, and I'm open to it being something we're not even thinking about,' said Dr. Kurt Williams, director of the Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University's Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. Researchers strongly agree that dogs are most likely to develop the illness when they have been around other dogs. Dr. Lindsey Ganzer, a veterinarian and the chief executive at North Springs Veterinary Referral Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., said that all of the dogs she had treated for the illness had spent time in places with high concentrations of dogs, such as boarding facilities, doggy day care centers or dog parks. Dr. Ganzer said she feared that veterinarians might see an increase in cases as more owners board their dogs or send them to day care during the holidays. 'We're really hoping just with getting the word out there that people are less inclined to do that,' she said. 'The veterinary community as a whole is kind of scared.'   What should owners do? Don't panic, and isolate your dog if it is showing symptoms. Dr. Stephen Kochis, the chief medical officer for the Oregon Humane Society, said he did not want people to be alarmed by the new illness, because the overall number of dogs with respiratory illnesses had not increased. If dogs are showing symptoms, there are steps owners can take to be proactive, he said. 'All of us have gone through Covid,' he said. 'I would say if your dog is showing signs of respiratory disease, isolate them in the home, call your vet, get them seen.'   Source: The New York Times

Survey Reveals Impact of Excess Weight for Dogs – and Their Owners
Dogs
clock

4+ MIN

Survey Reveals Impact of Excess Weight for Dogs – and Their Owners

ST. LOUIS — A new survey from Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets found that excess physical weight in dogs carries an emotional weight for owners, and that many owners view their dogs as thinner than they really are. Results showed that approximately one in five dog-owning households consider one or more of their dogs to be overweight, according to a press release. However, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the number of overweight dogs in the U.S. has reached a record high, with 59% of evaluated dogs either overweight (37%) or having obesity (22%). The Pro Plan Veterinary Diets survey was released on Oct. 11 – National Pet Obesity Awareness Day – and included more than 600 U.S. dog owners who identified their dog as overweight. It highlighted the physical and emotional factors contributing to excess weight and how these hinder dog owners from helping their pets. 'Dogs do not always gain excess weight due to a lack of care from their owners,' said APOP President Ernie Ward, DVM. 'If anything, an overweight dog may be a sign that the owner cares too much about their dog's happiness. But while it's often said that 'food is love,' feeding a pet too much could lead to an overall reduced quality of life.' More from the release: The Emotional Impact of Excess Weight The new survey revealed that excess weight gain in pets can be related to the emotions owners experience around feeding and treating: -75% of surveyed owners agreed they feel guilty when their dogs appear hungry. -67% agreed food is a primary source of their dog's happiness. -67% agreed they bond with their dog by feeding him/her treats and don't want to lose that bond. -54% agreed they feed their dog more food, table scraps or treats when their pet begs for them. Despite their fears about losing the bond with their dogs, 88% of surveyed owners whose dogs are overweight agreed their pets' body condition does concern them and 92% agreed that weight loss would be beneficial. These beliefs may be fueled by weight-related behavior changes in their pet that can impact the owner: -92 percent of surveyed owners agree they are sad when their dog can't participate in activities they previously enjoyed when their weight was ideal. -45% indicate their dog has less energy for playtime, 44% say their dog tires easily after minimal activity and 27% say their dog is less engaged or playful with their families. 'The results show that many owners of overweight dogs feel conflicted about what quality of life means for their pets,' said Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition), Director of Veterinary Communications for Pro Plan Veterinary Diets. 'While owners recognize that excess weight is keeping their dogs from participating in activities they once enjoyed, they also worry their dogs will be unhappy if feeding changes are made.' What Can Owners Do? Many surveyed owners have tried to help using DIY slimming strategies but were met with limited success. According to the survey, the most common weight-loss approaches tried by owners are reducing portions of existing food, cutting back on treats and increasing exercise, yet 68% of owners who tried these strategies stated their dogs lost only a little weight or no weight at all. 'Understanding the significance of this issue is the first step towards a healthy future for our pets,' said Gagné. 'The second is working closely with your veterinarian to create a weight loss plan that will work for you AND your pet – including the right nutrition, which can make a big difference. Pro Plan and Pro Plan Veterinary Diets offer a range of formulas, like OM Metabolic Response + Joint Mobility, specifically designed to help pets lose body fat while maintaining lean muscle mass.' It's also important to think about weight before it becomes a problem. In a 14-year study published in 2002, Purina scientists were the first to show the importance of keeping dogs at an ideal body condition throughout their lives3.  Researchers monitored the health of 48 Labrador Retrievers throughout their lives during which half the dogs were fed 25% less (restricted-fed) than their full-fed (control) siblings. The results showed that feeding dogs to an ideal body condition over a lifetime can significantly extend a dog's healthy years – by an average of 1.8 years for the dogs in the study. If you have concerns about your pet's weight, talk to your veterinarian. To learn more about weight management support and Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, visit proplanvetdirect.com. About the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the primary mission of preventing and treating pet obesity. APOP conducts research to substantiate pet obesity prevalence levels in the United States and offers resources and tools to veterinarians and pet parents to recognize, prevent, and treat pet obesity.  By Neslé Purina
 

How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?
Cats
clock

5+ MIN

How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?

Many cats put on Oscar-worthy performances to convince their parents they are constantly starving. Often, they start with jumping on your head at 4 a.m., perhaps followed by biting your toes, stealthily pushing priceless breakables off the counters, or pacing in front of their bowls and yowling nonstop. But how can you tell if your cat is really getting enough to eat, and how long can they reasonably wait for their next meal? There are a number of factors that need to be considered to answer these questions. For starters, how old your cat is, the kind of foods your cat eats, and any health conditions your cat has can all influence how often your cat needs to eat.  For example, there are big differences in the nutritional needs of growing kittens and pregnant cats, compared to adult cats who are mostly sedentary indoors. It is always best to consult your veterinarian and defer to their recommendations when it comes to the particular nutritional needs of your cat. Here are some general guidelines that may help. How long can your cat wait between meals? The short answer is that it depends. And no one knows exactly. Wild felines who hunt need to eat many small meals throughout the day but may also go long stretches without food. On average, hunting cats eat about eight to 10 small prey a day, so they spend the majority of their waking time stalking, chasing, and hunting in order to meet their dietary needs. For our pet cats who spend most of their time lounging indoors, they tend to burn many fewer calories and have access to higher quality diets. Their needs for food are quite different. Studies have shown that cats' stomachs empty between four to eight hours after a meal, depending on what they eat. So, while your cat may be able to go up to eight hours between meals, most nutritionists recommend feeding many small, frequent meals throughout the day to attain the best physical and mental health for your cat. So, if you're planning to go out of town, it's important that you instruct your cat sitter as to how often your particular cat needs to eat. Do different foods affect hunger differently? What you feed your cat may affect how often they need to eat and how quickly they become hungry after a meal. Some factors that influence this include protein content, fiber content, and whether you feed a dry kibble versus canned wet food. In cats, protein content influences their satiety, or feeling of fullness, the most. A high-protein diet may keep a healthy cat feeling full the longest. Some cats should not have high-protein diets, such as those with kidney disease, so make sure to speak with your vet before switching to a high-protein diet.   Fiber is also known to play a role in feelings of fullness and to slow down the emptying of the stomach and intestines. This seems to play a smaller role in cats, compared to humans or dogs. Commercial high-fiber cat diets have not been shown to significantly affect fullness in cats, but certain fiber supplements containing inulin do seem to have more of an effect. As always, consider these supplements after consulting with your veterinarian to make sure it is safe and appropriate for your cat. Be aware that adding too much fiber or introducing it too suddenly can lead to gastrointestinal upset, such as nausea and diarrhea.   When it comes to keeping cats full, there is some evidence that kibble actually stays in the stomach longer than wet food, which may keep them feeling full longer. The debate over feeding dry food versus canned food is endless, and there are many valid reasons to choose one over the other. In general, canned food tends to have higher water content, which is very important for keeping cats hydrated. Canned food usually has a pureed consistency, which may cause it to be digested more quickly and easily. In most cases, cats should not eat dry food exclusively for overall good health, but there may be strategic ways to incorporate small amounts of dry food into your cat's diet. How can you keep your cat from constantly crying for food? Depending on your cat's particular life stage and health, there are many ways to help them feel satisfied while allowing you to get some sleep, too. For kittens and pregnant cats that need to eat frequently, a timed feeder may be a good option to provide snacks overnight and in the early morning. Remember that these feeding devices are not usually recommended for cats in other life stages because they can lead to overeating and risk of obesity. For adult cats, food puzzles are a great way to provide smaller, frequent meals while improving your cat's activity level and mental enrichment. These can be homemade or commercially available puzzle-style feeders that require your cat to 'work' for their food.  It slows them down and allows them to snack gradually and also gives them a challenge to figure out how to get the food out. The simplest form of a food puzzle would be just hiding kibble around the room for your cat to seek out. More complex puzzles are also available in a variety of styles.   In general, providing smaller, frequent meals may help your cat to feel more satisfied and for those cats that have no health concerns, adding a little extra fiber and higher protein content may also keep them feeling full longer.   Look for these signs of actual starvation or illness in cats. It is important to note that cats cannot safely skip several meals in a row. This is especially serious for young kittens, pregnant cats, cats with underlying health problems, and overweight and obese cats. If your cat skips multiple meals, it is a sign of illness, and they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. It is also not safe to intentionally skip feedings as a weight-loss strategy. Overweight cats are prone to a condition called hepatic lipidosis, aka fatty liver, that can be triggered by skipping meals. For this reason, it is critical to follow your vet's recommendations on feeding guidelines, especially if you are trying to encourage your cat to reach a healthy weight. by Dr. Amy Fox, DVM
 


Dogs

Dogs How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?
clock

7+ MIN

Worth begging for

Treats and chews are a hot category for pet specialty retailers catering to dog and cat owners. Pet owners want options with which they can reward their beloved animals but are often still seeking products that have added benefits or make for a healthy choice.   "Over the past two years, we saw sales of collagen sticks skyrocket, but not enough to oversell bully sticks or more traditional chews," said Marcus Maximo, CMO at Natural Farm, a manufacturer based in Atlanta. "This makes me believe the trends are still on adding value to popular chews such as bully sticks, collagen or yak cheese by bringing to the market more unique shapes and size variations, combining proteins and adding flavors. Anything that brings value and quality and at the same time makes them more affordable is part of the trend."   When shopping for treats and chews, Maximo said pet owners will look at how safe a product is and what benefits it might provide to their pet. Others factors include the label, how clean the ingredients are and how reliable the company is, he said. "It is always a mix between benefits and safety when shopping for treats and chews," Maximo added.   Natural Farm recently introduced two products. Its Stuffed Cheek Roll is an alternative to stuffed bones, which always raise some concern as they can splinter, Maximo said. It comes in 5 to 6 inches or 9 to 10 inches and in different flavors. The second product, Power Cheese, is part of Natural Farm's Power Chew line.   "It is an alternative chew to traditional yak cheese," Maximo said. "This product combines a hard cow milk cheese on the inside with beef pizzle on the outside. This is a win-win chew, packed with protein that lasts longer than traditional yak cheese. It is made by Natural Farm in our facilities in Brazil so we can guarantee quality, transparency and safety, which is something you can't find with traditional yak cheese from Nepal."   There's no doubt that yak products are all the rage. Sherry Redwine, owner of Odyssey Pets, a pet store in Dallas, said that the biggest trend she's noticed is yak chews flooding the market. "It seems everyone and their yak are getting on this bandwagon," she said. "They now come in flavors too, like strawberry, pumpkin and blueberry. And, of course, collagen chews are hot hot hot—and not going away anytime soon."   Redwine said she has also seen private label products gaining traction in this category. "There are now companies out there doing things on a smaller scale so that single-store independent retailers can now get in on the action," she continued. "It reinforces your brand and keeps your name top of mind with your customers."   Cost is a factor in chew purchases, said Jason Ast, co-owner of Just Dog People, a pet store in Garner, N.C. Pet owners are willing to invest in a good chew, but they want to feel they are getting value out of it. "Customers are always looking for the best bang for their buck," he explained. "They want long-lasting chews that are affordable. This is definitely the No. 1 thing people are looking for when shopping for dog chews. Customers also want to know their treats or chews were made in the USA."   Ast said that they've also seen a surge in puppies in their area and that many of those pet owners are looking for puppy-safe chews. "That means chews that won't cause puppy teeth to fall out prematurely, and they also want chews that won't break off and end up choking their new fur baby," Ast said.   Kim McCohan, chief happiness officer at Bend Pet Express, a retailer with locations in Bend, Ore., said that any alternatives to rawhide—but that still fall into the "solo-ingredient category"—are sought after in chews. "[Earth Animal's] No-Hides are popular but due to their manufacturing process could be financially out of reach for some people," she said. "That is when many turn to cheaper collagen rolls."   Alan Snyder, CEO of Frankly Pet, a manufacturer in Milwaukee, said he's noticed functional treats trending. "Everyone loves indulging their pets, but consumers are seeking products that also contain beneficial ingredients to address specific issues such as supporting dental health, mobility and joints, digestive health and more," he said. "Collagen is an ingredient that's very popular at the moment as it helps build up bones, joints and muscles in addition to supporting a healthy coat, skin and nails."   Frankly Pet is introducing a new peanut butter flavor to its line of collagen rolls. Made in the USA with American-grade beef, Peanut Butter Chew Rolls feature 90 percent protein and 100 percent collagen.   Amy Cairy, vice president of marketing for W.F. Young, maker of Honest to Goodness treats, noted that the emphasis on treats and chews these days is on healthy options. "We have also seen a heightened awareness of the need to 'diversify the diet' as pets, and their people, could all use more fruits and veggies in their daily lives to support overall health," Cairy continued. "This is leading to increasing demand for more plant-based treats to help pet parents add healthy and beneficial options to their treat cabinet." W.F. Young's new Honest to Goodness Plant Snacks for dogs are all-natural, plant-based treats that promote functional health and overall wellness. They are available in six recipes including Happy Feet with Apples and Cinnamon, Way to Glow with Coconut and Flax, Mellow Belly with Pumpkin and Cinnamon, Golden Years with Blueberry and Carrot, Buddy Boost with Cranberry and Pomegranate, and Good Vibes with Chamomile and Ginger.   Taking stock of sales trends in the cat chews and treats category, McCohan said that thanks to TikTok and one particular cat account, their stores have seen an uptick in small dental chews. "The cat in this particular account chews hard treats, and the super-close video and sound of this act are so popular that their account has taken off," she said. Redwine noted that single-ingredient, freeze-dried meat treats that are healthy and palatable for cats remain the biggest sellers in her store.   Selling more treats & chews   Making smart display and marketing choices can help drive purchases of treats and chews. As there are so many options on the market, retailers can help guide pet owners toward the right choice for them. Maximo said that with so many variations, functions and benefits to offer, he recommends displaying chews on a raw bar table. "This is not a new concept, but instead, I'd group them to communicate the simplicity of what they are, their main function, their benefits and then by size recommendations," he said.   As treats and chews are often an impulse buy for consumers, Cairy said she recommends creating fun displays and constantly changing them. "Adding seasonal flavors or packaging that fits your display theme can really spur purchases and a sense of discovery and newness for shoppers," she added. "For example, a 'Happy Spring' treat display could feature treats with brightly colored packaging or highlight plant-based formulas."   Snyder said retailers have many options when it comes to arranging a treats and chews aisle. "Organizing the products can be done in several ways," he said. "This could be by brand, by all-natural products, by function, made in the USA, treats for training, etc. This helps optimize the shopping experience for pet parents. That said, treats and chews are often impulse purchases, so displaying treats and chews on endcaps leading up to the register can help, too."   At Just Dog People, they always have Nylabones and Benebones on a visible wall area since they sell so well, Ast said. "Our body parts can be found on a central display, called the 'Body Parts Bar,' where we have 20 various chews and treats for our furry customers," he continued. "We've found that people enjoy strolling around the body parts bar while shopping—many people are amazed at some of the items for sale—duck heads, chicken feet, etc."   McCohan said she tends to display chews based on category at her stores. "If they are inedible, we display those together, while the edible chews are together," she noted. "One of our locations displays all the edible chews in baskets kind of on their side and at an angle. Customers can grab what they want out of the basket but see more of each. Another location displays them in metal buckets on a pole, so there are many height offerings. I will say the location with the baskets down low allows dogs to pick what they want, and I don't think we allow that enough for our pets."   To that point, Snyder added that it's advantageous to incorporate a "sampling station" in stores and rotate brands and products on a weekly or monthly basis. He summed up: "Not only would this allow customers visiting the store with their pets to try the treats before buying, but it would help further showcase the quality, texture, smell and taste of products, leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction."   Source: Pet Product News. 

Dogs How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?
clock

5+ MIN

The truth about Salmonella and dog food

How worried should I be about Salmonella in dog food?
  It should go without saying, the presence of any pathogenic bacteria is unwelcome and, as 'pathogenic' suggests, carries risk. However, for a healthy, happy canine, Salmonella is typically a minor issue, with the majority of dogs showing few to no symptoms. The real concern lies in the possible transmission to humans, who are far more susceptible to the bacteria than their four-legged counterparts.
  How does Salmonella affect dogs? Salmonella is a type of bacteria that infects the gastrointestinal tract. If present in dogs, they are usually asymptomatic unless they have an already weakened immune system or are a puppy. However, even if a dog doesn't show signs of salmonellosis — the symptomatic infection caused by Salmonella — they can still spread the disease through feces or saliva, which can infect humans. The type of Salmonella that affects dogs is more likely to affect humans as well, making it a zoonotic disease — a disease that in transmissible between animals and humans.
How do I know if my dog has Salmonella? When the disease is seen in an adult dog, they typically have another infection or health problem at the same time. However, puppies are more likely to show symptoms of the disease whether they have an underlying condition or not.  Symptoms of salmonellosis include the following: Severe, sudden onset, watery diarrhea Bloody diarrhea (hematochezia) Vomiting Lethargy Fever Decreased appetite, with or without weight loss Dehydration Though rare, Salmonella can travel to the lungs, causing pneumonia, or to the reproductive tract of breeding female dogs, leading to loss of pregnancy. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it's important to take them to the vet and follow the recommended steps to recovery.   Causes of Salmonella in dogs The most common sources of Salmonella are contaminated food, water, or the feces or saliva of an infected animal. 'Dogs can get Salmonella infection just like humans through contaminated foods,' says Laura Ward, DFA's nutritionist. 'While a healthy dog is often resilient, certain factors can increase susceptibility. Age, poor nutrition, underlying conditions such as cancer, pre-existing diseases, stress, and even antibiotic treatments are all contributors that can affect your dog's resilience against Salmonella.'   Does raw feeding cause Salmonella? The ingredients used in cooked and raw pet foods have an equal probability of being contaminated with Salmonella. The cooking process and HACCP should mean that Salmonella is killed in production facilities with good hygiene and safety controls. Other means of controlling Salmonella are used in raw food processing, such as HPP. Basically, all kinds of dog food have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, and proper hygiene and handling should be carried out to avoid the spread to humans. 'Washing your hands and exercising good food hygiene is important no matter what kind of food your dog is fed,' says Laura. 'Dogs which lick their owners, especially around their faces can also mean that Salmonella can be easily transmissible to their humans.  'Dogs now live more closely with humans than they ever have before, meaning that the opportunities for Salmonella and other bacteria to be passed on are many.'   Salmonella is more dangerous for you than your dog Even though your dog is the one consuming the contaminated food, people and other pets around the food can still contract the disease from exposure to contaminated food or their contaminated pets. It's extremely important to keep small children away from dog food at all times as little ones tend to put everything in their mouth. A recent report on one particular dog food recall stated that seven people were infected with Salmonella, six of whom were children one year of age or younger.   How do dogs spread Salmonella? Once Salmonella gets established in the pet's gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when they have a bowel movement, and the contamination can continue to spread through their feces.  For this reason, it's particularly important to clean up your dog's poop in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed, in addition to cleaning items in the home. If you or your child show any signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, extreme lethargy, or other concerning symptoms, consult your doctor and ensure all potentially contaminated areas are cleaned.   What to do if your dog food has been recalled If your pet food has been recalled, stop feeding it to your dog and throw it away in a secure container where other animals cannot access it. Do not donate the food or feed it to the wildlife. It's then important to clean and disinfect all pet supplies, including all storage containers, bowls, surfaces, scoops, bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or dog may have had contact with. Clean up all pet feces and thoroughly wash your hands after handling the product or cleaning up potentially contaminated items or surfaces.   Should I avoid a dog food brand that's been recalled for Salmonella? While you must throw out all recalled food, it isn't necessary to avoid the brand going forward, especially if it is honest and open about the contamination. It might be the case that the brand regularly and thoroughly tests for pathogens, which can be a positive sign. However, if you notice repeat cases of contamination, it may be a red flag and time for a change.   How to treat your dog with Salmonella  If you suspect your dog is infected with Salmonella, speak to your vet. They will likely ask what food your dog has consumed in recent days (it's a good idea to keep a note of their dog food at all times — maybe by photographing the packaging) and if they have been close to any infected animals. In most dogs who develop symptoms, providing them with plenty of fluid is usually sufficient to help their immune system fight off the infection. Treatments can include: At-home hydration Probiotics Intravenous fluids Antibiotics or steroids Blood transfusion    Overall, Salmonella in dogs isn't as scary as you may think and in the rare cases where salmonellosis occurs, it's usually treatable. The majority of the time, you won't even realize if your dog has been infected and they will be able to fight off the bacteria with their healthy immune system. However, if your dog's food has been recalled or you think they are infected with Salmonella, it's essential to take precautions to stop any spread.    Source: Dog Food Advisor


Cats

Cats How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?
clock

3+ MIN

Cats’ noses appear to function like powerful aroma analysis equipment

Published in PLOS Computational Biology, the study was funded by Waltham Petcare Science Institute and led by Ohio State University, Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania.   These new findings deepen our understanding of the domestic cat's enhanced sense of smell, aiding new strategies to meet cats' food preferences.   Researchers created an anatomically accurate 3D computer simulation of a domestic cat's nose to understand how cats smell. They used a variety of techniques to create the simulation, including high-resolution micro-CT scans to generate an accurate model of a cat's nose. The simulation of air and odor flow through the virtual cat nose revealed similarities with a parallel coiled gas chromatograph.   In basic gas chromatography, the substance being analyzed is vaporized and carried by a steady flow of gas through a tube. Different chemical components in the substance interact with the tube in distinct ways, which enables them to be separated and identified.  In a cat, its complex nasal structure is made up of multiple tubes, like a parallel coiled gas chromatograph, making the process even more efficient than the basic chromatography technique.   'We have partnered with leading institutions to further understand cats' sense of smell', says Dr. Scott McGrane, sensory science expert at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. 'Computational Fluid Dynamics (or CFD) is usually used to solve engineering questions related to how fluids flow.  In our case, we have applied CFD to study airflow and how aroma compounds move through the cats' nose.  Cats' noses have a complex structure that enhances their ability to smell, akin to the snail-like coiled cochlea which we know enhances hearing sensitivity'.  'This new research shows a cat's nasal structure is about 100 times more efficient in detecting aroma compounds than having a single straight tube, which most amphibians have', Dr. McGrane added.  The study and findings deepen our understanding of cats' enhanced sense of smell and present the potential for future computational and behavioral studies on the palatability of cat food, including in the area of new sustainable protein sources.  It's a topic we are exploring through our sensory science work, which aims to further our understanding of the sense of smell and taste in cats and dogs.  Our recent research has discovered new insights into the taste perception of pets by studying the sensitivity of taste receptors using a range of approaches, including computational modelling. One study looked into bitterness and its relationship with toxicity for dogs, while another explored the kokumi taste receptor of cats, which is described as a taste enhancer rather than a taste on its own.   We are committed to using scientific research to gain a better understanding of how cats and dogs experience and enjoy the food they eat. It means we can continue meeting their needs nutritionally, while at the same time ensuring they savor their meal, for happy pets, as well as healthy pets. 

Source: Whaltam PetCare

Cats How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?
clock

5+ MIN

How Long Can Your Always-Hungry Cat Wait For Dinner?

Many cats put on Oscar-worthy performances to convince their parents they are constantly starving. Often, they start with jumping on your head at 4 a.m., perhaps followed by biting your toes, stealthily pushing priceless breakables off the counters, or pacing in front of their bowls and yowling nonstop. But how can you tell if your cat is really getting enough to eat, and how long can they reasonably wait for their next meal? There are a number of factors that need to be considered to answer these questions. For starters, how old your cat is, the kind of foods your cat eats, and any health conditions your cat has can all influence how often your cat needs to eat.  For example, there are big differences in the nutritional needs of growing kittens and pregnant cats, compared to adult cats who are mostly sedentary indoors. It is always best to consult your veterinarian and defer to their recommendations when it comes to the particular nutritional needs of your cat. Here are some general guidelines that may help. How long can your cat wait between meals? The short answer is that it depends. And no one knows exactly. Wild felines who hunt need to eat many small meals throughout the day but may also go long stretches without food. On average, hunting cats eat about eight to 10 small prey a day, so they spend the majority of their waking time stalking, chasing, and hunting in order to meet their dietary needs. For our pet cats who spend most of their time lounging indoors, they tend to burn many fewer calories and have access to higher quality diets. Their needs for food are quite different. Studies have shown that cats' stomachs empty between four to eight hours after a meal, depending on what they eat. So, while your cat may be able to go up to eight hours between meals, most nutritionists recommend feeding many small, frequent meals throughout the day to attain the best physical and mental health for your cat. So, if you're planning to go out of town, it's important that you instruct your cat sitter as to how often your particular cat needs to eat. Do different foods affect hunger differently? What you feed your cat may affect how often they need to eat and how quickly they become hungry after a meal. Some factors that influence this include protein content, fiber content, and whether you feed a dry kibble versus canned wet food. In cats, protein content influences their satiety, or feeling of fullness, the most. A high-protein diet may keep a healthy cat feeling full the longest. Some cats should not have high-protein diets, such as those with kidney disease, so make sure to speak with your vet before switching to a high-protein diet.   Fiber is also known to play a role in feelings of fullness and to slow down the emptying of the stomach and intestines. This seems to play a smaller role in cats, compared to humans or dogs. Commercial high-fiber cat diets have not been shown to significantly affect fullness in cats, but certain fiber supplements containing inulin do seem to have more of an effect. As always, consider these supplements after consulting with your veterinarian to make sure it is safe and appropriate for your cat. Be aware that adding too much fiber or introducing it too suddenly can lead to gastrointestinal upset, such as nausea and diarrhea.   When it comes to keeping cats full, there is some evidence that kibble actually stays in the stomach longer than wet food, which may keep them feeling full longer. The debate over feeding dry food versus canned food is endless, and there are many valid reasons to choose one over the other. In general, canned food tends to have higher water content, which is very important for keeping cats hydrated. Canned food usually has a pureed consistency, which may cause it to be digested more quickly and easily. In most cases, cats should not eat dry food exclusively for overall good health, but there may be strategic ways to incorporate small amounts of dry food into your cat's diet. How can you keep your cat from constantly crying for food? Depending on your cat's particular life stage and health, there are many ways to help them feel satisfied while allowing you to get some sleep, too. For kittens and pregnant cats that need to eat frequently, a timed feeder may be a good option to provide snacks overnight and in the early morning. Remember that these feeding devices are not usually recommended for cats in other life stages because they can lead to overeating and risk of obesity. For adult cats, food puzzles are a great way to provide smaller, frequent meals while improving your cat's activity level and mental enrichment. These can be homemade or commercially available puzzle-style feeders that require your cat to 'work' for their food.  It slows them down and allows them to snack gradually and also gives them a challenge to figure out how to get the food out. The simplest form of a food puzzle would be just hiding kibble around the room for your cat to seek out. More complex puzzles are also available in a variety of styles.   In general, providing smaller, frequent meals may help your cat to feel more satisfied and for those cats that have no health concerns, adding a little extra fiber and higher protein content may also keep them feeling full longer.   Look for these signs of actual starvation or illness in cats. It is important to note that cats cannot safely skip several meals in a row. This is especially serious for young kittens, pregnant cats, cats with underlying health problems, and overweight and obese cats. If your cat skips multiple meals, it is a sign of illness, and they should be seen by a veterinarian right away. It is also not safe to intentionally skip feedings as a weight-loss strategy. Overweight cats are prone to a condition called hepatic lipidosis, aka fatty liver, that can be triggered by skipping meals. For this reason, it is critical to follow your vet's recommendations on feeding guidelines, especially if you are trying to encourage your cat to reach a healthy weight. by Dr. Amy Fox, DVM