Meet Baxter, the world’s most memorable dog. Baxter is a boat anchor of an English Bulldog whose charm is immeasurable.
Unfortunately, Baxter’s health problems have also been immeasurable. Since his adorable puppyhood, Baxter suffered from pododermatitis - large boils that erupt between his toes, and ear infections that discharge and require daily ear treatment. Baxter’s skin is red and itchy and his coat so oily that it leaves residue on your hands when you pet him. He requires frequent bathing to control the musty odor that emmanates from his skin. The charming skin fold at the top of Baxter’s manly muzzle is constantly infected and needs daily cleaning to keep it from oozing nasty stuff down his face.
Baxter is a 67-pound, 16-inch-high train wreck.
Did I mention that Baxter’s owner loves him madly? She does, and dutifully performs all of the many medications and lavations Baxter requires to keep him comfortable. She takes Baxter to the veterinarian, again and again, and has done so for years, spending thousands of dollars and doing everything she can to control Baxter’s many, many problems, but nothing seemed to work.
Oh, wait. That was the old Baxter. Believe it or not, there's a diet for all that!
Foods are the first medicines and there are an amazing variety of food-therapies available to address health problems in dogs and cats. Baxter’s is just a particularly onerous example. All of Baxter’s skin infections, his pododermatitis, odors and ear problems, are the direct and secondary effects of food allergy.
Baxter’s food allergies are particularly severe, but his problems have improved dramatically since he started eating a specially formulated (Anallergenic ®) diet. The nutrient molecules in Baxter’s new diet have been processed in a way that leaves them too small for his immune system to recognize. Without constant histamine release caused by his allergic reactions, Baxter’s skin has begun to function healthfully. Instead of stinking and promoting the overgrowth of yeast and bacteria in his skin and ears, Baxter once again makes the normal skin oils that keep the growth of skin microorganisms in check. As Baxter’s skin normalizes, his need for medications and constant bathing is disappearing.
In this age of specialized software apps designed for very focused uses, it should not come as a surprise that highly specialized diets have also been developed for focused veterinary health problems. These diets might correctly be considered medicines. Here are some examples:
If your pet has food allergy (like Baxter), there's a dozen diets for that; novel protein diets made of fish, rabbit, duck, or venison for treatment of beef, lamb, or rice allergies, hydrolyzed diets processed to reduce the size of food molecules to reduce immune reactions, and a completely Anallergenic ® diet designed for the most difficult allergy patients.
If your dog isn’t allergic to food, but has sensitive skin, there's a diet for that.
Is your pet overweight? There’s half a dozen diets for that; high fiber diets to fill your pet up, calorie control diets to slim your pet down, satiety support diets to reduce over-eating, high protein diets to boost your pet’s metabolism and burn more calories!
If your pet is vegan – or has a meat allergy - there's a vegetarian diet for that.
If your pet gets frightened during 4th of July fireworks, or is generally excitable, there's a diet for that.
Diabetes? There's a diet for that. Kidney or liver or heart trouble? There are diets for that! Late-stage kidney disease? There’s a different diet for that. Stools too hard? There’s a high fiber diet for that. Problems with the pancreas? There’s a highly digestible, low-fat diet for that. Arthritis problems? There’s a diet for that – unless you’re a larger breed dog; there’s another diet for that! Recovering from surgery or illness? There’s a diet for that. Struvite bladder stones? Yup, there’s a diet for that, but there’s another diet for oxalate kidney stones and another for urate and cysteine stones. The list goes on and on.
We're pleased to have such a large (huge, really) set of options that allow us to tailor the diet to each individual patient's special needs. Talk to your veterinarian about these (and many other) medicinal diet options available for your pets.
Specialized diets are more expensive than supermarket foods. BUT if you're paying for premium food AND adding supplements to treat a medical condition - or just to get your dogs to eat the food - you're already paying the price! Dietary therapy is a much better deal, and a more elegant solution, than pharmaceuticals to address your pet’s health needs.