Educational Articles

  • Pigs are omnivores that typically eat multiple small meals throughout the day. A mini-pig’s base diet should consist of a commercially available, nutritionally balanced pelleted chow formulated for mini-pigs. Different formulations are available based on the life stage of the pig. In addition to pelleted pig chow, pigs may be fed small amounts of other foods, including fresh or frozen vegetables and small amounts of fruit. Pelleted food should be offered first to help ensure it is consuming a balanced diet. The exact amount of pelleted food to feed depends on the brand being fed; most brands give general feeding recommendations calculated from their caloric content. Treats such as small pieces of succulent fruits or vegetables may be offered once or twice a day and are best used as rewards in training.

  • Once your cat has reached adulthood, their nutrient profile will change from when they were a kitten. Your veterinarian can help you determine what proportion of each nutrient is needed based on your cat's lifestyle and current body condition. It is important to lay a good nutritional foundation to maximize the health and longevity for your cat and reduce the potential for developing obesity.

  • Once your dog reaches adulthood, his nutrient profile changes from when he was a puppy. Your veterinarian can help you determine what proportion of each nutrient is needed based on your dog’s lifestyle and current body condition. Avoid free-feeding and work on a meal schedule. Following these steps can help your dog lead a healthier life and avoid becoming overweight or obese.

  • Adverse food reactions in dogs are either caused by food allergy – an immune response to something ingested or food intolerance – a non-immunological response to something ingested. Signs of food intolerance are usually only digestive in nature. Food intolerance will generally occur on the initial exposure to the food or food additive in contrast to food allergy which requires repeated exposures to develop. Different causes of food intolerance include food poisoning, or inappropriate ingestion of an irritant, reaction to food additives, histamine reactions, lactose intolerance and dietary indiscretion such as eating fat or bones. A dietary history is important in diagnosing these conditions.

  • Gastrostomy tubes are placed percutaneously through the skin directly into the stomach and may be needed for cats who are unable to chew or swallow their food, or for cats with diseases causing anorexia. Special liquid diets or canned diets blended with water are recommended to be given in multiple feedings throughout the day, dependent on the cat’s reason for the tube. Instructions are provided by your veterinarian for tube feeding and tube maintenance. The tube can be removed as early as 14 days after placement once the cat is eating well. Your veterinarian will remove the tube.

  • Gastrostomy tubes are placed through the skin of the abdomen into the stomach to enable long-term nutrition in dogs that either refuse to eat or are unable to chew and swallow food. A special liquid diet or homemade mixture liquefied with water will be recommended by your veterinarian. Step-by-step instructions are provided. The decision to remove the tube will be determined by your veterinarian.

  • Giardiasis is an intestinal infection of man and animals cased by a microscopic protozoan parasite Giardia duodenalis. Giardia is a simple one-celled parasitic species; it is not a "worm", bacteria, or virus. Giardiasis can be an important cause of diarrhea in animals and humans. However, many cats are infected without developing clinical signs or the diarrhea is treated as 'non-specific'.

  • Picky eaters are often created by their humans offering too much variety of food. Cats can become picky eaters for medical reasons that need to be determined by your veterinarian. It is safe for an otherwise healthy cat to not eat for a few days; beyond this however, they can develop a possibly fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis. To decrease pickiness, having food available for only 30 minutes4-5 times a day can be beneficial. Human food should not be used as a diet as it will lead to nutrient deficiencies. Certain foods are okay to mix with cat food to make them more appealing but check with veterinarian before including these in your dog’s diet. Many cats work on their own schedule and prefer to eat very small amounts frequently (grazing).

  • Picky eaters are often created by their humans offering too much variety of food. It is safe for an otherwise healthy dog to not eat for up to a week. To decrease pickiness, having food available for only 15-30 minutes 2-3 times a day can be beneficial. Human food should not be used as a diet as it will lead to nutrient deficiencies. Certain foods are okay to mix with dog food to make them more appealing but check with your veterinarian before including these in your dog’s diet. Many dogs are not programmed to eat every day.

  • Cats are obligate carnivores and cannot be vegetarian. Through evolution, cats have become dependent on the specific forms of nutrients found only in animal tissue. Feeding your cat a proper diet is one of the most important aspects to help keep them at optimal health. It is important to keep in mind that the nutritional requirements and dietary preferences change over the course of the cat's lifetime. Your veterinary health care team can help you make good-quality diet choices and determine the correct number of calories your cat needs in a day.