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Original Article By PetMD
Think you know all there is to know about puppy and kitten nutrition? Are you aware that puppies and kittens are more sensitive to nutritional imbalances than adults, for example? Or that excess calcium intake can cause a puppy to develop orthopedic disease?
Go past Puppy and Kitten Nutrition 101 to learn lesser-known facts about their dietary needs. Then use this knowledge to provide your newest family member with the proper start in life she needs to thrive for years to come.

1. A Balanced Diet Is Even More Important for Growing Animals Than for Adults

All animals, regardless of age, need a balanced diet to thrive, but puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to nutritional imbalances, says Dr. Jonathan Stockman, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “The requirements and the sensitivities to excess in nutrients are generally highest.”
One example is calcium, an essential dietary mineral that plays a critical role in bone development. In excess, calcium can cause a puppy to develop severe bone changes and orthopedic disease, he says. “Large and giant breed puppies are particularly sensitive to this, whereas adult dogs are able to regulate calcium absorption when the diet is high in calcium.”
 

2. Puppies Should Not Be Fed Adult Formula Food

Because they are sensitive to nutritional imbalances and their energy needs are greater, puppies should only be fed a growth formula diet, vets say.
Growth places the highest energy and nutrient demands than any other life stage on a dog or cat, apart from lactation, says Dr. Jessica Harris, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at Carolina Ranch Animal Hospital in Garner, North Carolina. “The energy needs of a puppy are two-fold: 1) support the tissues already developed and 2) provide the energy required to form new tissues.”
Puppies use about 50 percent of their consumed energy for maintenance and 50 percent for new tissue development in the early growth phase, Harris says. “As the puppy gets older, the energy needed to support growth diminishes and proportionately shifts to support maintenance. Energy is provided by protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Thus, growth diets often provide a greater percentage of protein and fat to support growth than do adult maintenance diets.” Growth diets also provide optimal amounts of calcium, phosphorus, copper, and essential fatty acids, “which have an important role in bone formation and maturation, cartilage maturation, hair color, red blood cell development, and trainability.”

3. Unchecked Growth Can Be Harmful to a Dog’s Bones

Feeding a puppy to maintain her ideal body condition versus allowing maximum growth promotes the optimal rate of bone development, says Harris, who is also a clinical nutrition instructor at the Topeka, Kansas-based Mark Morris Institute.
“The adult weight and size of the animal is not impacted by whether the growth rate is rapid or slow, however, the risk of skeletal deformities increases with the rapidity of growth.”
Determining a puppy’s body condition score (BCS) is a reliable way to determine normal growth rate. Body scoring helps you gauge if your dog is maintaining a healthy muscle mass and body fat index. It’s something you can practice at home, using your hands and visual observation.

4. Young Animals Need Multiple Feeding Times to Thrive

Animals rely on reserves for energy in between meals, says Harris. “These energy reservoirs are stored glycogen in the liver or fat depots throughout the body. Ketones produced by the breakdown of lipid or amino acids can also provide energy.  As young animals often have limited reserves and are at risk for the development of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), multiple meals offered throughout the day best averts the onset of lethargy, trembling, weakness, lack of coordination, and seizures.”
Puppies should eat at least three meals per day, and kittens younger than 6 months should be fed more often, “For example, four to six times a day,” says Dr. Donna Raditic, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist with Nutrition and Integrative Medicine Consultants based in Athens, Georgia.
This should be accompanied by close monitoring—with your veterinarian—of body weight, muscle condition score (MCS), and BCS, Raditic adds. She encourages pet parents to use a food gram scale to weigh food and monitor daily caloric intake.
Just like human weight loss programs will use food gram scales to educate us about portion size and caloric intake, weighing your puppy/kitten’s diet right from the start will help you to be sure you are feeding the correct amount,” she says. “Adjusting intake in grams is much more accurate than going from one-eighth cup to one-fourth cup.”

5. Nutritional Needs Differ by Breed Size

There are a few key differences in the nutrient needs of large breed puppies as compared to small- to medium sized breeds, says Harris. Most of these focus on reducing the risk of developing orthopedic disease.
“Although the development of musculoskeletal disorders is multi-factorial and a complicated disease process, it has been correlated nutritionally with calcium, phosphorus, the calcium-phosphorus ratio, vitamin D, and energy intake,” she explains. “Large breed growth diets contain a little less than 1 percent calcium and more than adequately meet the growing large breed puppies’ calcium requirement. Small- to medium-sized breeds are less sensitive to slightly overfeeding or underfeeding calcium, and as a result, the level of calcium in foods for these puppies have a broader margin of safety.”

6. A Gruel Formula Can Help Ease the Weaning Process

Providing your companion with porridge-like formula during weaning—which starts when an animal is about 3 to 4 weeks old and is marked by the eruption of baby teeth and an interest in solid food—can help ease the process, Harris says.
“It has been largely successful to introduce a gruel made by blending a canned growth food with a canine/feline liquid milk replacer in a 1:1 ratio,” she says. “Alternatively, one part dry commercial food can be ground in a food processor and mixed with three parts of canine/feline liquid milk replacer.”
She says the young animal should always have access to the formula, and that it should be replaced three to four times a day. It will spoil and promote bacterial growth if left out at room temperature for prolonged periods.
It’s during playtime that a young animal typically encounters the gruel, then will progressively consume small amounts. “As the young animal’s interest increases, the liquid portion of the mixture can be gradually reduced until they are consuming only the canned or dry commercial growth diet, usually between 6 and 9 weeks of age,” Harris says. “This transition is a delicate balance between the mother, the young, and the owners and requires close monitoring and patience.”
Not all brands of milk replacer are equal, however. “Care should be taken when selecting the milk replacer, as not all brands meet the minimum nutrient requirements for growth per American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for all labeled species.”

7. Feeding Methods are Not One-Size-Fits-All

Pet parents have three options for feeding growing puppies and kittens: Free choice, which makes the food available 24/7 (like an all-day buffet); time-limited, where food is out for a set period of time; and amount-limited, where portions are pre-determined.
“Each have their own benefits and drawbacks and what is right for one animal may not be the best option for another,” Harris says. “Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the [owner] have a discussion with their veterinarian about the best feeding option for their growing pet.”
Size and breed are factors that can impact that decision. For example, “free-feeding puppies can be problematic for the large, giant breeds,” says Raditic, who also co-founded the Companion Animal Nutrition & Wellness Institute.
“If rapid growth is induced, this may drive the genetics of these breeds at risk for developmental orthopedic disease (for example, hip or elbow dysplasia),”she says. “For small and medium breeds, it can be problematic increasing body fat—for these breeds are at risk for obesity and to be overweight.”

8. Working with Your Companion’s Natural Behavior Can Provide Additional Health Benefits

Working with an animal’s instincts can promote health and well-being. “Simulating normal feeding behavior will increase activity, reduce boredom, help with weight management and prevent obesity, and strengthen the bond between cat and owner,” says Dr. Amy Learn, a veterinarian at Cary Street Veterinary Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.
Cats are innate hunters, so work to add enrichment to their feeding regimen. “For example, using feeding toys or embracing a cat’s three-dimensional world,” Raditic says.
Dogs evolved as hunters, as well as scavengers. “These activities were a substantial part of their daily time budget and are not currently utilized when we hand them a bowl of food,” Raditic says. You can still honor a dog’s natural behavior, however, by allowing her to work for her food “with puzzle toys or programs like ‘learn to earn,’ which have been shown to provide mental stimulation,” explains Learn.
The more we understand about a young puppy or kitten’s dietary needs, the better care we’re able to provide. Early nutrition deeply impacts puppies and kittens and sets the stage for longevity and quality of life, Raditic says. “Every pet parent needs to understand and own this preventative care for their furry companion.”


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com

Article Source from PetMD

Common Ear Problems in Cats

Cats have only a few ways to show us that their ears are bothering them. The most common symptoms of ear problems – scratching and head shaking – can be caused by many different diseases, all of which are treated differently. But take heart. There are a few “tricks of the trade” that will help you differentiate between the most common ear problems in cats and give you the information you need to get your cat on the road to recovery. Read on to learn more.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are tiny parasites that like to live in and around cat ears. They are easily passed between cats and are most commonly diagnosed in kittens. Ear mites make cats shake their heads and scratch themselves around the ears, head and neck. To determine if your cat has ear mites, check your cat’s ears for material that looks like coffee grounds. Gently take out a chunk and put it on a dark background. Live mites look like white, moving specks about the size of a pin head (use a magnifying glass if you have one). A veterinarian will confirm your diagnosis by looking at a sample of debris under a microscope.
Over-the-counter cat ear mite treatments are available and work if you closely follow the directions, but your veterinarian can more thoroughly flush out your cat’s ears and prescribe medications that will eliminate your cat’s ear mites with just one application. To eradicate ear mites from your home, make sure that all pets receive treatment.

Infections of the Outer Ear

Bacterial and fungal (yeast) infections of the outer ear often look quite similar to ear mite infestations. The symptoms – scratching and head shaking – are essentially the same, but if you look closely at the ears, you may notice some differences. Ear infections often cause a cat’s ears to become more red and swollen than do mite infestations, and the discharge from an infected ear tends to have a distinctly foul odor.
To appropriately treat an ear infection, a veterinarian first has to microscopically examine a sample taken from the ears to determine whether yeast or bacteria (and what type of bacteria) are to blame. The doctor will then thoroughly clean out your cat’s ears, take a look inside to determine how much damage has been done, and then prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include  ear cleaners, topical medications, oral anti-infectives, pain relief and anti-inflammatories based on the specifics of your cat’s case.

Middle and Inner Ear Infections

Sometimes the middle and inner parts of a cat’s ear become infected, either because an outer ear infection has moved deeper into the ear or because bacteria has spread through the bloodstream or Eustachian tube (a tube that connects the middle ear and the back of the nose).
Symptoms of middle and inner ear infections vary depending on exactly what part of the ear is involved and whether one or both ears are affected, but owners may notice head shaking, rubbing at the ears, a head tilt, decreased appetite, lethargy, a drooping on one side of the face, squinting, a raised third eyelid, unequal pupil sizes, abnormal eye movements, difficulty walking or poor hearing.
Veterinarians diagnose middle and inner ear infections using a combination of a cat’s symptoms, a physical exam (including an ear exam) and x-rays, CT scans or MRIs of the affected areas. Treatment may include long term treatment with systemic antibiotics, topical medications and surgery.

Polyps

Nasopharyngeal polyps are benign growths within a cat’s middle ear or Eustachian tube. They can cause cats to develop middle ear infections (as described in the previous slide) as well as loud breathing and nasal discharge. To diagnose a nasopharyngeal polyp, a veterinarian will anesthetize the cat, thoroughly examine the ears and nasopharynx (the area above the soft palate within the mouth), and take x-rays. Surgery to remove the polyp is usually curative, and as long as the whole polyp is taken out, it should not return.

Mange

Some types of mange mites, like Notoedres cati, seem to prefer to live on the skin around the head and ears of cats. Mite infestations can make cats so itchy that they scratch to the point of self-mutilation. The skin in affected areas can also become thickened, scaly and covered with crusts. Cats may also become systemically ill and even die in severe cases. To plan appropriate treatment, a veterinarian must examine skin scrapings under a microscope to identify the type of mite that is present. Then the doctor can prescribe the right medication to kill the parasites.

Foreign Bodies

Cats, particularly those who go outdoors, sometimes get grass awns and other foreign bodies lodged in their ears. Cats with foreign bodies in their ears will usually shake their heads and paw at their ears.
If you look in your cat’s ear and can easily see a large piece of grass or something else that shouldn’t be there sticking out, you can try to gently pull it out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. However, if you feel any resistance as you pull or your cat is uncomfortable, stop and call your veterinarian immediately. The doctor can sedate your cat, safely remove the foreign body, examine the ear for damage and prescribe any necessary treatment to promote healing.

Bites and Scratches

Cats who go outside or live in a multi-cat household are also at higher than average risk for trauma to their ears. Bites and scratches are often directed towards this area and can result in lacerations, punctures and other types of wounds that can subsequently become infected.
You can help minor abrasions and cuts heal by cleaning the area with a dilute povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine antiseptic solution a few times a day, but deeper wounds or those that fail to improve with home treatment should always be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Allergies

Cats with allergies, particularly food allergies, often develop itchiness that is focused around the head and ears. If your cat is scratching in this area and no obvious cause can be identified, an allergic reaction may be to blame. Switching to a limited antigen diet for six to eight weeks (and feeding absolutely nothing else other than water) might help you determine if your cat has a food allergy, but keep in mind that the best “hypoallergenic” cat foods are only available through veterinarians.
Of course, cats can develop other problems that affect their ears, including inflammatory disorders, immune-mediated conditions, tumors and more. If you have concerns about the health of your cat’s ears (or any other body part!), make an appointment with your veterinarian.


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com