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Pets Magazine November 2018

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This month, we feature MOJO, Instagram's newest canine star; Pet Horoscopes by Russell Grant; an expert on how to look after your pets' digestion & improve their long-term health & happiness; our fantastic festive giveaway of a 3D printed sculpture of YOUR pet, and more inside!

Like us, our pets are

Like us, our pets are what they eat Vet BY DR ROSEMARY WARING It might come as a surprise, but dogs and cats share remarkably similar gut microbiomes to humans. This sounds a bit technical so let me explain. A microbiome is a multitude of bacteria and fungal microorganisms that live in a particular environment, in this case, your pet’s gut. Crucial to animal health, the microbiome assists with energy generation and battling disease. Domestic cats and dogs have evolved from their wild ancestors, which were carnivorous. As such, their gut microbiome is populated with enzymes and bacteria which are great at breaking down proteins, but struggle to break down things like carbohydrates. Many mammals, such as cats, and dogs, lack large quantities of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates into energy. It’s not something they’ve developed evolutionarily. As a result, if they eat too much carbohydrate, the carbohydrate load may begin to ferment in the intestine, causing diarrhoea and other health issues. This is a particular problem for big dogs which are genetically closer to their wild ancestors - Pets Magazine wolves. They are much more likely to suffer from conditions like IBS, which can be painful and upsetting for the animal. Vets are now citing high carb diets as one of the biggest causes of IBS in dogs - a problem, they say, is getting much more widespread. Smaller dogs have been selectively bred as companion animals; their smaller size meaning they have relatively more amylase and suffer less from problems with carbs. Even if your pet is able to break down the carbs, however, the extra sugar this produces can contribute to obesity, which sadly can lead to a shorter life

Vet expectancy. So, if you want your furry friends around as long as possible, it’s a good idea to pay attention to how much carbohydrate they are eating - and keep it to a minimum. In nature, cats get about 98% of their energy from proteins and only about 1-2% from carbohydrate sources. Dogs are much better at breaking down carbohydrates, but still get the majority of their energy from protein sources in the wild. Yet, modern commercial pet food often contains much higher amounts of carbohydrates than our pets are used to - as much as 70% of commercial dog food is made up of carbohydrates. The reason is simple: carbohydrate is much cheaper to produce than protein. Properly processed, these carbs shouldn’t do too much damage to dogs, but will cause problems for cats. And in both cases, the amount of carbs we’re feeding our pets is much higher than in the wild. Owners also often don’t realise the amount of carbohydrate their pets are getting; those bits of toast and pizza crust can end up causing digestive problems like IBS, diabetes, and diarrhoea. Fortunately, there is a lot of research currently being conducted into the field of gut microbiomes in mammals. One such study, carried out by Tharos, found that an energyrich malt extract containing amylase helped horses digest carbohydrates better, leading to “The amount of carbs we’re feeding our pets is much higher than in the wild...” more energy and fewer gastrointestinal issues. It’s actually very unusual to find measurable evidence of a product positively altering the gut microbiome. Often socalled probiotics make little measurable difference to the enzyme makeup of the gut microbiome. So, to find a measurable change is incredibly significant and shows that the extract is reaching the intestine without being denatured by stomach acid along the way. Given these incredibly positive results, we expect that a version of the malt extract could be Pets Magazine developed for cats and dogs to increase the levels of amylase and help them better digest carbohydrates. This should result in less malfermentation in the gut, leading to fewer cases of IBS and diarrhea, and to happier, healthier pets. The fact that cats have been licking spoons clean in early tests shows that animals love the taste of the malty flavour. It may also turn out that the malt extract can be used to encourage pets to ingest medications such as worming tablets as well, something which will delight cat owners when it arrives! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr Rosemary Waring is an expert with Tharos, a scienceled health company focused on animal digestive health, malfermentation, and the gut microbiome. Dr Waring qualified in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and completed a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Birmingham. Web: Twitter: TharosEquine LinkedIn: https:// 17945663/

Pets Magazine Issues

Pets Magazine February 2019
Pets Magazine Dec:Jan2019
Pets Magazine November 2018
Pets Magazine October 2018

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