One Thing you should Never see on Pet Food Label

If you see the words “veterinarian approved” on your pet food
label, look out. That claim is always untrue.

Veterinarians do not approve labels or products. Only state regulatory
agencies can do that, according to the The Business of Pet Food, a new
website launched by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
That’s just a taste of the information you’ll find on the site: www.petfood.aafco.org.
What else?
Ingredient lists, labeling requirements, analyses of commercial pet food and
government regulations for making and labeling pet food.
The site is for people who sell pet food — or want to. But there’s lots of
information for pet owners, too.
“Many people are surprised by how many regulations apply to the pet
food industry,” says Liz Higgins, Chair of AAFCO‘s Pet Food Committee.
For example, did you know “veterinarian recommended” means that
the company making the food actually surveyed veterinarians to find out if they
would recommend the food?
And, like we said, “veterinarian approved” is never true.
So, if you’ve ever wondered …
What’s really in my pet’s food?
What would it take to turn my secret recipe for Tasty Treats into a
mail-order business?
Go to http://www.petfood.aafco.org.

Originally
published by Healthy Pet.

Don’t Ignore Breathing Difficulties in Shortnosed Dogs

Unfortunately, the only thing normal about noisy breathing
for dogs with “pushed-in” faces is that it is an expected response to
a shortened upper jaw, which creates excess soft tissue in the back of the throat.
Some dogs are
affected to the point where they experience brachycephalic (the scientific term
for breeds with pushed in faces) obstructive airway syndrome or BOAS. If left
untreated, problems can get worse to the point where an animal can collapse due
to a lack of oxygen.
Owners of affected dogs may be putting them
at risk if they do not recognize the problem and seek treatment, according to
researchers Rowena Packer, Dr. Anke Hendricks and Dr. Charlotte Burn of the
United Kingdom’s Royal Veterinary College.
In their 2012 study, the researchers
discovered that owners of such dogs as pugs, English bulldogs, Pekingese,
French bulldogs, Boston terriers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Shih tzus and
others were not aware of the signs of BOAS. In fact, 58% of surveyed owners
said their dogs did not have breathing problems even when more than two-thirds
of the dogs showed difficulties during exercise.
What to watch for
According to Packer, while it is not yet known which are the best predictors of
BOAS, signs to look for include:
  • Increased and abnormal breathing noise that sounds like snoring,
    both when the dog is awake and asleep
  • A shortness of breath while exercising or playing
  • Effortful, labored breathing with obvious abdominal movements
  • Interrupting exercise, play or eating to catch their breath
  • Inability to exercise for reasonable periods of time without
    becoming out of breath
  • Difficulty cooling down after a walk; panting for long periods
  • Physical collapse while exercising
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or periods where the dog stops breathing
    during sleep
  • Restlessness and difficulty getting comfortable at rest, stretched
    out head and neck position, forelegs spread and body flat against the
    floor
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as difficulty swallowing, and
    bringing up food, stomach content or a lot of saliva.
“If you notice these signs, take your
dog to your veterinarian for an assessment to learn whether they are compatible
with the disease or due to a different problem,” says Hendricks.
“If left to develop,” says Burn,
“BOAS can lead to secondary problems due to the effort required to
breathe—putting pressure on the voice box, digestive system and heart. In
addition, the more severe the breathing problems, the greater the severity of
GI signs. They may reflect inflammation of the esophagus, stomach ulcers and,
in some cases, hiatal hernias, when part of the stomach can become displaced
into the chest cavity during breathing.”
Option for severe BOAS
If your veterinarian believes the dog may have BOAS that requires treatment, he
or she may refer you to a veterinary surgical specialist. There, the dog’s
airway is likely to be examined under general anesthesia to assess whether it
shows the abnormalities associated with BOAS—an elongated soft palate,
collapsing voice box and narrowed nostrils.
If present, these abnormalities would be
surgically corrected, says Packer. That could mean, for example, that excess
tissue in the nose and throat would be removed.
Surgery may improve clinical signs, she says,
but the dog may never be “normal,” because of the head structure and
is likely to remain susceptible to heat stress.
For severely affected dogs, where significant
secondary problems have occurred—for example, severe laryngeal collapse—then
treatment choices may be limited. In some cases, either permanent tracheostomy
or euthanasia may be recommended.
“That is why it is vital,” says
Hendricks, “that owners recognize the clinical signs of BOAS and perceive
them to be a ‘problem’ as early as possible, so that these secondary changes
can be avoided by early intervention.”
Options for
mildly affected dogs

For all dogs, including those that have had surgery or have been determined by
a veterinarian to only be mildly affected, owners can help with some lifestyle
changes, says Burn. Owners should do the following:
  • Closely monitor the dog to keep it at a healthy weight. Being
    overweight or obese can exacerbate the condition.
  • Use body harnesses rather than collars on walks so the airway is
    not compressed by a neck collar if the dog pulls at the leash.
  • Avoid walking on hot or humid days. On particularly warm days,
    keep dogs calm and indoors in a cool, aerated room with access to water.
  • Avoid having dogs in particularly stressful or exciting
    situations.
Originally published by Healthy
Pet
.