Prescription diets are formulated for the medical needs of pets. Pets need to be diagnosed with a particular problem or disease before the vet can, as part of the medical management plan, describe the use of these sorts of diets.
Proper diet and nutrition throughout the life of our pets is important for their health and happiness. Dr Roslyn from Greencross Vets describes the proven positives of prescription diets for pets.
“The good thing about these diets is that we understand that they’ve been well researched, having been based on scientific findings and studies in order to deliver proven benefit to our pets lives,” she says. “They are particularly effective in conjunction with other medical treatments that can work alongside the dietary plan.”
Why would my pet need a prescription diet?
Pets may be prescribed a specific diet for various reasons. “The sorts of diseases that we’d be using prescription diets for may be periodontal disease, where pets may have treatable gingivitis or plaque build-up,” says Dr Roslyn.
“Other types would be urinary health, particularly in cats that experience urinary disorders like urinary tract infections or crystals that can build up in their urinary tracts. These diets are made to either dissolve these crystals or help maintain a certain level of healthy minerals and a healthy pH.”
When a pet has kidney disease they will require special dietary requirements that are met by a prescription diet. This is to ensure the kidneys aren’t working too hard and that the proteins have been adjusted to support optimal kidney function. Some prescription diets have liver support functions – they are higher in certain antioxidants and nutrients that allow for better function of the liver.
Is it genetic or based on environment?
The way in which animals can present with these issues is the result of a combination of many factors.
“It could be in part, genetic – the genetic makeup of the breed, the way that their musculoskeletal systems designed or the way their facial structure is designed,” says Dr Roslyn. “The oral structure has a lot of influence into the likelihood of some dogs developing dental disease much earlier than other dogs, such as teeth crowding and malalignment of the jaw. A lot of pets also have genetic predispositions to other diseases, such as allergic dermatitis.”
It is often a mixture of genetics and the environment in which the animal is brought up. Weight control is a common problem: dogs that are overweight as puppies will be prone to maintaining that weight as they become adults and find it more difficult to lose weight.
Will my pet have to be on a diet for their whole life?
Prescription diets are often tried and tested on a case-by-case basis. Dr Roslyn assures that, in some instances, pets won’t always need to be on a diet for rest of their lives. “Unless there’s a chance your pet will continue to develop the same or similar problems, a pet could be slowly weaned off their prescription diet,” she says.
By combining an optimal diet with a medical management plan you can vastly improve the lives of your pet and long-term prognosis of most diseases.
If you are concerned about your pet’s health and diet, contact your local Greencross Vets to set up an appointment.