How Dry Food Almost Killed Our Cat
**February 14, 2014**Supporting internet veterinarian articles added to the end of this blog**
Those of us who have pets, especially those of us who have ALWAYS had pets, feel they are absolutely part of the family, and we want them to live rich, long lives. How upsetting then, is it to find out that some of the food you are giving your pet may actually hurt and possibly kill them? That’s what we recently discovered, when a brilliant new vet came across our path.
Our cat Rascal and his 4 brothers were born in San Pedro, in a Hewlett Packard computer box. Two of the kittens, twins, were later appropriately named, Hewlett and Packard, by the pet rescue group that adopted all 5. From frequent visits to the pet store that allowed this group to adopt out many cats and dogs, we learned a little bit more about Rascal’s litter mates. They TOO had various intestine related issues. Now most cat “owners” know that cats will ingest hair while grooming or eat grass, and vomit frequently. (Sorry there is no better way to say that!) Some of this is relatively normal.
It’s when the issues become way too frequent and the cat is in pain, that should cause the cat owner to be concerned. Rascal had the less severe typical digestive issues, and his own hereditary issues for a very long time. We just dealt with it. But one night, actually in the early morning hours, he was starting to cry out in pain. We took him to the vet’s office, where a new vet had just recently joined their team. At first, he thought that maybe an anti-biotic would take care of this problem, so we went with that for the recommended 7-10 days. We also switched Rascal to prescription wet food, that should be more digestible. That did the trick for a couple of weeks, but the pain returned. We tried a second treatment of the antibiotics. Again, for a short time, it seemed to help. By the way, this drug also has an anti-inflammatory in it. But ultimately, Rascal was in pain, not eating, and was quite lethargic. We panicked. While not old to ME, he was 11 years old and per most professionals, he was a senior cat.
This time Dr Gasso recommended we find out just what was really going on inside of our cat. He explained the benefits of an ultrasound, that it was non-invasive, and would not require anesthesia, which is quite dangerous for aging pets. The results were quite astounding. Rascal’s intestines were inflamed and the inflammation was starting to effect his organs! Left unresolved, I am sure he would have suffered and died.
This time Dr Gasso discussed with us the topic of diet. He told us that there are new revelations or studies, that have indicated that cats can have the feline version of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), or a grain/gluten intolerance. He gave us a 30 page comprehensive list of the nutrition in cat food that is almost NEVER on the labels. He told us to check the list and find a brand of WET food that we can purchase in the grocery store, that has less than 7 grams of carbs, and NO gravy which is made with flour. He also said that small amounts of home cooked meats such as chicken and beef, can be added to the diet. He also told us not to feed Rascal any more dry food, which is FULL of carbs. Additionally, when a cat’s intestines are inflamed, dry food is not easily digested. Going without food and nutrition cannot be tolerated for more than a few days without terminal results.
I know many pet owners rely on dry food as it’s cheaper per serving, and pets can self-feed when we are not at home. But at what cost to the pets health? And if it makes a pet sick and you frequently take the pet to the vet’s office, the price starts to come into question.
Since taking Rascal off of dry food, his health and intestinal issues are improved dramatically, almost overnight. Yes, he occasionally will have a spell of not feeling well, but the difference in his overall quality of life is amazing.
Even our female cat has dropped an extra pound of weight she did NOT need, because of the high carb content in the dry food that we are no longer providing.
I cannot stress enough the importance of considering taking your cat or dog OFF of even high quality dry food, especially if they appear to have digestive problems. I’ve always longed to be a veterinarian, and I’ve taken one online class for Veterinarian Assistant. But the lessons we learned from Dr Gasso were the best of all.
Dr Daniel Gasso, DVM
Rolling Hills Animal Hospital
Western Ave, Rolling Hills/RPV, CA
Cat Food Nutrition Report PDF available via email, if not attached to this blog. (It may exceed the size limit).
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
2/14/14 ****ARTICLES OF A SIMILAR BELIEF FOUND BELOW****
"A cat's natural diet, usually rodents, rabbits, insects and birds, is usually less than 2% carbohydrate. Dry cat food is generally 25-50% carbohydrate." http://feline-nutrition.org/health/species-inappropriate-the-danger...
"The principal function of carbohydrates in the process of manufacturing dry pet foods is to provide structural integrity to kibble. The starch works like a "cement" that holds kibble together, preventing crumbling throughout the manufacturing process." http://www.blakkatz.com/dryfood.html
"As a holistic veterinarian and animal advocate with more than 20 years of experience and thousands of hours of research under my belt, I’ve concluded that dry food is not a fit diet for our cats and dogs–carnivores who need a meat-based diet." http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/why-dry-food-is-bad-for-cats-...
"Novel protein diets are an important subject these days because so many dogs and cats have food allergies. Food allergies can cause not only GI upsets like vomiting and diarrhea, but also significant skin problems like rashes, hot spots, inflammation and even ear infections." http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/05/07...
"Transitioning Feline Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food. Putting a little thought into what you feed your cat(s) can pay big dividends over their lifetime and very possibly help them avoid serious, painful and costly illnesses." http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=3041
"Dry Food Does Not Clean Pets' Teeth." http://consciouscat.net/2010/04/05/the-truth-about-dry-cat-food