Friday, 24 June 2011

great new veterinary blog

I've been following the new veterinary blog by Dr Renee O'Duhring. It's great to read her take on animal health, because she approaches it from a proactive direction - ie, keep your dog healthy rather than try to fix up problems after they occur.

She has written a post about 'the physical and mental benefits of providing your pet with a natural diet. '

I was interested to read it, because she discusses the question of whether dogs are purely carnivores or whether they do well with some plant matter in their diet. Penny definitely likes some vegetable matter in her diet and will scavenge it for herself if we don't include it - grass, horse poo, possum poo, you name it - she's dining on it when left to her own devices.

I asked Dr Renee a question that I've been trying to research on the Net and in the Yahoo groups, without any luck, and received a most interesting and informative reply.

Here's the comment I put on her post:
Dr Renee, thanks for this great post! I try to feed a varied and natural diet, but sometimes I start to worry that I'm not doing enough. It's hard to resist the blandishments of the big pet food company [companies], whose advertising is in my face every time I enter a pet food shop. (Though I do mostly feed things I buy on special at supermarket meat departments, or through my own butcher, or plant-based ingredients that are similar to what we eat ourselves.

I'd love to ask you something I can't find any information on. I asked at one of the Yahoo Groups I am a member of - won't name it, as I'm disappointed and angry about the only response I got, which was that my question was inappropriate, because I should only feed meat, as this is the only "species appropriate food". Not true, as you have noted, given that in a natural environment, dogs will scavenge some plant matter.

My question is this: I grow yakon, which is a very different plant food, in that it has inulin in it (a great food for human diabetics, might be interesting to know if it would be useful for diabetic dogs...). My dog, Penny, LOVES it, and I occasionally give her tiny scraps.

Do you know of any studies that look at the effect of inulin on dogs?

And if you can give me some advice, wuld it be okay to post your reply on my own website? (Fine if you prefer not, of course.)

And here's the reply, which she said was fine to post here:
Hi Parlance. Interesting question about yakon, and funny timing as I have been experimenting with it myself! There is one study I have come across in the Cambridge journals on the effect of oligofructose (which is the carbohydrate in yakon) in companion animal diets, as well as a few on PubMed. One study showed that inulin "may favourably alter the composition of the colonic bacteria", which is one of its functions as a prebiotic. There is certainly nothing suggesting yakon would be harmful included in the canine diet (in moderation). Some pet foods include chicory root as a source of inulin so it seems that pets do benefit from it. Read more about that here:
Not sure whether it would be helpful for a diabetic pet or not, as pet's nutritional requirements are very different from humans. Hope that helps, and glad to hear Penny enjoys foraging for all things delightful!
I'll certainly continue to follow Dr Renee's blog.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh, I'm glad you're finding Dr Renee's blog so interesting and helpful! We just went to see her last weekend for a "holistic consult" actually - we wanted to look into alternatives for flea treatment for Honey & Muesli, instead of using those horrible chemical spot ons...she was so helpful and so nice to talk to! It's such a shame you don't llive close enough to her for you to take Penny to see her for any issues!


parlance said...

Your are lucky. On the other hand, though, you make your own luck. It was only through you that I heard of her. I'm sure there must be similar vets here in Melbourne.