Saturday, August 1, 2015

Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Obesity, Outdoor Water Safety, and more ...

Why Can't I Call A Fat Pet Fat? Why is the truth so offensive? 

I think that political correctness is being taken too far these days. God forbid somebody got offended.

I myself don't like hurting anybody's feelings. I will white-lie until I'm blue in the face. If I don't have anything good to say, I'll find SOMETHING. Or keep quiet. But only when avoiding the truth isn't hurting anybody.

Obesity negatively impacts health and quality of life

But sometimes it is important to call things what they are. If a dog is obese, their health and quality of life suffers. This is a problem that can be fixed if somebody calls it what it is and it gets addressed. But somebody needs to say the words. We need to wake up and see things for what they are rather than getting offended by somebody calling us on it.

Out of all people, veterinarians should be able to tell the truth, however unpleasant. And we should be thankful for them doing so.

Countering pet obesity by rethinking feeding habits

Dogs get obese because they eat more calories than they expend. If more comes in than goes out, the difference ends up being stored. That is simple math. Or is it?

The typical weight loss diet consists of a diet with less calories and more fiber to fill the stomach. But is this working? Many dogs put on such diets seem to suffer from constant hunger. It appears that weight loss diets that are higher in protein are more successful in keeping dogs satiated.

And what about the nature of the food itself? Many holistic vets emphasize the superiority of raw and whole-prey diets but are being highly criticized for that.

One overlooked feeding strategy may lie in the nature of the food itself. Raw and whole-prey diets may provide a viable alternative to extruded ones."
~Dr. Katherine Kerr, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Florida

Hide, hair and bones of their prey, together with other plant and animal fibers have positive impact on energy metabolism and gut environment of wild felines. Perhaps  such diets could have similar results in domestic pets.

According to Dr. Kerr these type of diets are undervalued and under-researched nutritional therapy options.

I'm happy to see that somebody is taking this point of view.

Is That Outdoor Water Safe for Your Pet?

Jasmine LOVED water

Most dogs love water. Jasmine was crazy about water. Puddles, ponds, lakes ... the only time she would take off ahead of us was when there was a lake. The only time we'd ever lose sight of her was when she found a pond. If you couldn't find Jasmine, all you had to do was look for the nearest body of water. You could follow her around with the fanciest bottled water, she'd prefer to drink from a tarp. Cookie loves water too. The boys don't like getting themselves wet but will drink from any water they can find outside.

Naturally, there are risks in every water source, be it toxins, bacteria or other pathogens. The one I really worry about and always diligently watch out for is blue-green algae. A drink of outside water can also contain things Giardia, Leptospira, and others.

I worry about these things but keeping our guys away from all outdoors water just isn't possible.

If a dog who's been exposed to outdoor water sources gets vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or becomes reluctant to play, it's important to see a vet immediately.

Reconsidering Universal Spay and Neuter for Dogs

Spaying and neutering used to be a clear-cut issue. It was something we never thought twice about. We didn't plan on breeding so we spayed and neutered at the vet's recommendation, as early as they felt we should do it.

Today, I'd think much harder about it. With JD, we waited until he was a year old before we had him fixed. Cookie is adopted and was already spayed, according to the vet's finding at very early age. She is already paying for it with intermittent incontinence.

Over last few years, research found some previously unknown risks with early spay and neuter. How much should we rethink what we've been doing?

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