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Author Topic: Raw feeding and blood work discussion  (Read 4838 times)
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« on: September 18, 2009, 09:36:51 AM »

My very first article for the Feline Nutrition Education Society!

Melamine to Frankenprey: A Documented Journey

Wow! What a fantastic journey. I'm actually surprised that you don't use any supplements at all -- and they're getting enough vitamins and minerals? That would have to have taken a whole lot of calculating to find the right kinds and quantities of meats that will meet the Ca:P ratio, taurine requirement, B vitamins, essential fats and I could go on. The proof is in the pudding. Have you had any bloodwork done on these guys since, to see if all the numbers are good?
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 03:37:06 PM by catbird » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2009, 01:49:36 PM »



Bug - Since I'm feeding so close to their natural diet, there's no need to add supplements. As to the tests, I'm puzzled - why would I get blood panels done on cats who are eating foods nearly identical to their natural diet (and WORLDS away from commercial cereal and glop), especially when every single common indicator of health jumped way over into the green when I made the switch? The thought has never occurred to me, nor would I do it even now. I'd rather spend that money on new toys for them.  Grin


AC, I would have done the bloodwork just to prove my theory to myself if it was me doing this. Just my scientific side, that's all.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 03:48:14 PM by catbird » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 07:29:11 AM »

Huh?  When did it get to be 'scientific' to subject a cat to the stress and risk of a blood draw when there is no medical need for that?  What if there is a lab error made and then the cats have further unnecessary tests or procedures done?  I don't think it would be good veterinary practice to perform tests just to bolster an owner's ego or to satisfy curious minds on pet forums. 

Do you really have a veterinarian that would comply with such a request, Bug?

I think my comment may have been misinterpreted. This isn't about satisfying anyone's curiosity or bolstering egos. Aunties Crazy is confident that what she is feeding her cats is 100% the best thing she could possibly do for them. That's excellent.

For myself, as someone who was trained in the field of science and health care, if I were to completely change my cats' diets to one that wasn't supplemented with vitamins and minerals, I would take them in to get a blood panel done after feeding it for some time to ensure that they do not have any nutritional deficiencies. If there was something glaring, I'd be able to make changes that would address that. I do this while feeding them commercial food to ensure they aren't getting too much of something or not enough of another.

My cats get a blood panel once a year or if everything seems to be going really well, once every 2 years. If there's one thing I've learned is that if you do not have a baseline and periodic checks, you don't get a really good picture as to what's going on if they do fall ill. All my new cats get fatal disease testing, an x-ray and/or ultrasound and bloodwork in addition to a regular health check up. This has been working much better for me that playing a guessing game every time something goes wrong. It also alerts me to things that I wouldn't have necessarily known about until it was too late (Bones' cardiomyopathy, Katey's CRF -- both caught in early stages).

I surely don't expect everyone to have the same philosophy as I do, but my vet is always happy to assist me in keeping my cats as healthy as possible and sometimes that includes some tests. She doesn't always agree with my choices (feeding raw chicken, vaccinations every 5 years and no more after age 10, etc.) as she wasn't trained that way, but she definitely goes out of her way to understand my point of view and accommodate my requests. Sometimes she even takes my advice and gets a new product that she's never heard of before (Biotene, Feliway, NuCat vitamins).

We all do what we think is best for our pets. I try to minimize things they dislike (going to the vet) while still getting the information I need to make informed decisions. In the end, I have to be able to say to myself that I did everything I possibly could have to keep my kitties safe and healthy even if the angels take them away from me sooner than I had anticipated.
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My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Mark T
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 05:42:07 PM »

quote from bug:
I would take them in to get a blood panel done after feeding it for some time to ensure that they do not have any nutritional deficiencies.


Like you I have a scientific background, and as a chemical engineer I take an analytical approach to this subject. I have been wondering if it is better to run tests on the food I am feeding or run blood panels on our cats.

What type of blood panel do you ask for that specifically detects nutritional deficiencies?  The typical panel my vet runs only shows blood cell count, liver and kidney enzymes etc. In other words, it shows how the cat's systems are functioning. 
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lesliek
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 08:19:59 PM »

I think thats what bug meant,to be sure everything is still functioning well with the changed diet. I know I worried about it switching to homemade,& still do with adding more raw. I have to say though,that not only has there been improvement that I can see but also in there blood & urine tests. Except for Remy's ongoing troubles[which have improved] & Punkins recent UTI [which I am pretty sure was stress related]. I'm just glad that we all have learned enought to make better food choices for our entire families in the last couple of years. I do think that younger cats & dogs will see a greater benefit from it with increased life spans & better health. I just wish I had the money needed to test all foods my whole family eats. I would feel safer if I could.
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petslave
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 08:28:14 PM »

This is out of pure ignorance on my part, but I'd like to know what blood tests show nutritional deficiencies too.  I'm sure severe deficiencies would eventually show some changes in kidney/liver/cell counts, but can they see if there is too much/little Ca, P, Vit A or others in the blood with the usual tests?  Or do you have to ask for specific tests? 

I know others on the forum have said they have their pets checked out to make sure their food is adequate, just wasn't sure what was involved in that.  (Unfortunately can't afford testing around here anyway unless they are obviously ill.)
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 08:28:54 AM »

quote from bug:
I would take them in to get a blood panel done after feeding it for some time to ensure that they do not have any nutritional deficiencies.


Like you I have a scientific background, and as a chemical engineer I take an analytical approach to this subject. I have been wondering if it is better to run tests on the food I am feeding or run blood panels on our cats.

What type of blood panel do you ask for that specifically detects nutritional deficiencies?  The typical panel my vet runs only shows blood cell count, liver and kidney enzymes etc. In other words, it shows how the cat's systems are functioning. 
This is out of pure ignorance on my part, but I'd like to know what blood tests show nutritional deficiencies too.  I'm sure severe deficiencies would eventually show some changes in kidney/liver/cell counts, but can they see if there is too much/little Ca, P, Vit A or others in the blood with the usual tests?  Or do you have to ask for specific tests?  

I know others on the forum have said they have their pets checked out to make sure their food is adequate, just wasn't sure what was involved in that.  (Unfortunately can't afford testing around here anyway unless they are obviously ill.)

Testing the pet food is more expensive than running bloodwork on the cat, and the problem with testing food is that you're only getting a snapshot in time of that product because lot runs vary from the beginning to the end of the run and from run to run. I figure if the cat's bloodwork (organ systems), xrays and ultrasound are fine, then you're not doing too bad on the food end. Doing the routine bloodwork (CBC, electrolytes, LFTs, albumin, etc.) can clue one in to the possibility of nutritional deficiency if it is at the point of affecting their systems, but there are specialized tests one could request. For instance, you could have your cat tested for heavy metals by submitting hair samples and other specific blood tests are available (B12, copper, etc.) but they are not always a direct correlation with diet as blood concentrations are not always the best indicator of the nutrient level (potassium is one of these nutrients). Severe deficiencies usually show up as outward signs or on the full panel, but if you're concerned with something specific, the best thing to do would be to ask your vet what tests are available.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 01:27:10 PM by bug » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Spartycats
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 10:15:09 AM »

Just something to keep in mind...

"AAFCO protocols include blood tests that screen only four different blood values at the beginning and end of the food trial: RBC, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, and serum albumin. Even the basic veterinary blood profile screens for at least 25 values"

http://www.catnutrition.org/nutrients.php
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bug
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RIP little angel Katey


« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2009, 01:05:56 PM »

I guess I wonder why all the fretting in a thread started here by someone to share a positive experience with raw feeding?  Or why fret over just raw and homemade with what we know about nutritional inconsistencies in industrial pet food?

Why not subject your pets to blood draws and the risks of those when switching brands of industrial pet foods?  Or perhaps just to check and see if they slipped a change in on you, or perhaps if your pets needs are changing as time goes on?

There seems to be a negative bias here.

ETA: Maybe all this discussion of blood testing should go into another forum area, rather than this thread.

Last sort-of OT from me, mods:

I don't think there's any fretting going on, Poco. I think there is curiosity and many questions as not many of us have done something like this. I commend anyone who has the will, time, knowhow and confidence to change their cats diets drastically, whether instantly or slowly over time. Auntie Crazy's journey and experience is excellent and I think many can learn from what she's done. No negativity involved at all.

My initial query was simply a matter of "did she happen to have had any of the cats bloodwork done in the time that she changed the diet." It didn't have to have been done specifically for that purpose -- maybe one of her cats was in for a checkup and that might have been part of the routine -- I don't know. I surely didn't want to start an offshoot of this thread -- to the point that it has gone, anyway.

Again I, personally, subject my cats to bloodwork when I think it necessary and I keep tabs on their innards that way, in addition to being as prudent as I possibly can to minimize their exposure to things that will harm them.

I'm not dissing raw diets and I'm not dissing commercial foods. Everyone has a choice to make and they do it on behalf of their pet, taking into account their preferences, illnesses, allergies and perhaps their own lifestyle (vegetarians, busy schedules, cash constraints).

I'm impressed with what AC has done. I wish my cats would eat even one bite of a mouse, let alone the top half. I wish her every continued success with her feeding regime and hope that others are able to incorporate something like this into their lives if they wish to do so.

I will continue to be a curious and inquisitive person and those here can expect many more questions from me. If that sparks debate, great. That's one reason why I come here -- I get to pick on many different brains -- this will always be done respectfully. There's no malice in anything I post.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2009, 01:28:28 PM by bug » Logged

My little babies, you'll always be in my heart. Mom will see you later. Look after each other, ok?
Auntie Crazy
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 02:39:24 PM »

Change doesn't come easy to most of us. This issue is particularly difficult to accept because it flies in the face of "common knowledge", both in that dry food is healthy (when it is, in fact, dangerous) for cats and that raw food and bones are dangerous (when, of course, it's just the opposite).

Naturally, there will be challenges to the changed view.  Cheesy

But have hope. There are vendors today who are refusing to stock dry foods and look here, closer to home - a raw food sub-forum on our beloved Itchmo!  :-)
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petslave
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 07:42:31 PM »

Since this is in it's own thread now, maybe we could take an inventory of what would show up on standard bloodwork when food isn't balanced so we have some guidelines. Everything in normal range does show that the pet is in (apparent) good shape right then as far as organ systems, so that does help.  But is there anything specific we can check on a printout that gives other clues?

I know with low Ca input, they will pull Ca from their own bones for quite awhile, so that won't really show up for quite some time.  That's probably my biggest worry about home feeding - are they getting enough Ca to balance the P in the meats.  P varies so much from raw to cooked, different cuts, weight, etc.  Vit A is the other - too much or too little.  Will that show up in some way on test results? 

A few things that need separate tests and won't show up on standard testing - B12 has an individual test that has to be sent off to TAMU or Idexx I think, but as far as I know, it's mostly the IBD cats that have problems with that.  Pancreas problems require special testing too.  But with a pet that appears healthy, you shouldn't need either of those tests.
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