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It’s been a while but I though that I would add to this. After two years of our little Field Spaniel suffering from from Acute Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis and over a year of food elimination diet trials, our vets finally ran him through an expensive battery of allergy tests. Our the vets had informed us up front that the expensive tests only had a 75% accuracy rate and allergy testing was not recommended for the diagnosis of food allergies; we were okay with that, we were getting desperate. Now, the tests showed us pretty conclusively that he had no allergies to natural unprocessed animal proteins ; however they cannot test for the highly over-processed proteins found in commercial dog food, too many processing methods. But what did come up was that he was deathly allergic to flax products, he scored over 500 on the allergen panel. He also scored over 300 for tomato products. Even allowing for the 75% accuracy rate, those two items were simply just too high to ignore.
We immediately sought out foods that contained no flax or tomato products, and it was surprisingly pretty difficult. We found a few, and immediately began him on a diet changeover routine. Within a week there were no more bloody raspberry jam stools, no more bloody vomiting, his little stomach calmed right down. Its now been almost a year that he’s been free of any severe gastroenteritis symptoms; he still gets the occasional upset stomach, but that seems to be mostly from eating grass.
I guess the biggest question I have out of all of this is if flax and tomato products are “so safe” for our pets, then why are the allergy testing companies actively testing for flax and tomato in their panels? We already know that not only is flax seed is a natural source of cyanide, but the touted rich plant based sources of omega 3 contain ALA, rather than EPA and DHA, and that ALA is not readily bioavailable in our dogs and cats. Also odd, I’ve recently read that Flaxseed Allergy is now considered an emerging allergen in humans.Gary AParticipant
Interesting discussion. However, as pointed out by this very site, actual scientific evidence, vs anecdotal evidence, points to the fact that the entire Canidae and Felidae families are both physically and biologically carnivorous.
People like to pick and choose supportive statements from the famous Knight and Leitsberger study “Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals” which supports their claims for the undisputed nutritional value of vegan living for dogs and cats. Unfortunately the study itself does not validate those claims and even questions the results of the “famous” PETA study in 1994 with “The precise diets used, and their level of nutritional adequacy, are unknown.” They also state of the studies they reviewed (including PETA) “The standard of evidence offered by these studies and case reports varies significantly, and very few, if any, meet the standards of well-designed RCTs that are considered the cornerstone of Evidence-Based Medicine.” While Knight and Leitsberger concur that a significant and growing body of population studies and cases suggest that cats and dogs may be successfully maintained on nutritionally sound vegetarian diets long-term, and indeed, may thrive, they also state, “cats and dogs maintained on these diets also experience health problems, and occasionally die.”
It’s a very well done study, but it does challenge the claims and assertions of both camps, and calls for more research to be done. http://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/6/9/57/htm
The fact remains that while some dogs and cats may “thrive on vegan diets”; their physical biology is that of their carnivore families. Their “tearing” back teeth, shorter intestinal lengths, higher stomach acid levels and faster digestion, and lack of production of the enzyme amylase in their salivary glands all clearly and uniquely identify them as being biologically carnivores. They simply do not have the “grinding” molars of herbivores or omnivores. They do not have the slower digestive tracts and associated longer intestines that both herbivores and omnivores have. In addition, they do not produce amylase in their salivary glands, a hallmark difference between carnivores and herbivore/omnivores. Dogs and cats may have “adapted” to living with us, but they are certainly biologically and physically carnivores like their relatives. Any diet, vegan or classical, has to meet the needs of their carnivorous biology.