As a dedicated pet owner, you want the best of everything for your beloved companion, so you purchase top-of-the-line bedding, treats, and food. But, many diets available for pets may not provide your furry pal with optimal nutrition, despite their high sticker price. Occasionally, deficiencies in amino acids, vitamins, or minerals may be the underlying cause of a chronic condition in your pet, such as allergies. You may wonder why your pet’s annual baseline blood work has shown no signs of nutrient deficiencies, but typical blood work does not detect early signs of inadequate nutrients, since pets are gifted at compensating for deficient diets.
Conditions caused by nutrient deficiencies in pets
To help determine the amino acids, vitamins, or minerals your four-legged friend may be lacking, we can perform the necessary testing at Cranberry Holistic Pet Care. Once we’ve interpreted the blood test results, we can see if your pet’s chronic illness is rooted in an inadequate diet. Pets who suffer from low levels of vital amino acids, vitamins, or minerals may develop the following conditions:
- Coarse hair coat
- Flaky skin
- Digestive disorders
- Impaired cognitive function
- Poor cardiovascular health
Although food may be the culprit for your pet’s inadequate nutrient levels, rather, your furry loved one may be incapable of properly metabolizing these essential components. Many issues can lead to, or be caused by, improper nutrition and metabolism, which makes amino acid, vitamin, and mineral testing a crucial part of your pet’s overall health plan. Plus, nutritional deficiencies rarely show up until they reach advanced states. Unfortunately, feeding a commercial or home-cooked diet, and relying on routine blood work, will not guarantee that your pet’s diet and health are adequate. Only a diet analysis of your pet’s amino acid, vitamin, and mineral levels can determine their diet’s nutritional status.
The importance of proper nutrient levels for your pet
Each amino acid, vitamin, and mineral has a specific purpose in your pet’s body, and only one component that dips too low can create serious issues for overall health and organ function. Let’s break down each component, to understand how important they are for your pet’s bodily functions, and how suffering can occur without proper levels.
- Amino acids — Amino acids are commonly referred to as the building blocks of life, but vitamins and minerals are also essential for physiologic processes, so any imbalance in these crucial elements can lead to severe health problems. Cats and dogs require 22 amino acids for proper development and function, but the divide between essential and nonessential amino acids differs. Essential amino acids must be provided by the diet, while nonessential amino acids are created by the body. Found in every body area, amino acids are involved in creating neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, collagen, hemoglobin, immunoglobulins, muscles, and energy production. They play a crucial role in brain function, neurotransmitters, metabolism, detoxification, gastrointestinal function, vascular function, and enzyme regulation. If your pet is suffering from an amino acid deficiency, you may not notice until significant muscle loss is evident. With inadequate amino acid levels, your pet’s body will use the muscles to maintain proper protein levels. Without individual amino acid testing, low levels cannot be detected, and your pet may continue to waste away, and suffer from many health issues.
- Vitamins — Vitamins are organic compounds typically found naturally in food, but some pet foods, such as improperly balanced homemade diets, may be vitamin deficient. Excessive vitamin levels can also lead to problems—for example, too much vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain, and blood vessel damage. While pet multivitamins are available, they can do more harm than good if you do not know whether your furry pal’s vitamin levels are deficient or excessive, so before starting your pet on a vitamin supplement, allow your Cranberry Holistic Pet Care veterinarian to test their levels.
- Minerals — Like vitamins and amino acids, minerals are essential for proper growth and maintenance. Your pet uses minerals for a variety of body functions, including nerve conduction, muscle contraction, cellular function, fluid balance, and developing and maintaining skeletal structure. One of the most common mineral imbalances in pets is the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in giant-breed puppies. Excessive calcium levels in a growing, large-breed puppy can predispose the pet to orthopedic conditions.
Does your furry pal suffer from a chronic condition like allergies, flaky skin, rough hair coat, or digestive issues? Your pet’s diet and nutritional deficiencies may be to blame. Call us to schedule nutritional testing, to determine if your pet has underlying inadequate nutrient levels that a proper diet can remedy.