Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Evolution, Nutrition, and God: My Thoughts by Marion (Meg) Smart DVM, PhD

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Why would I link nutrition to Evolution and God? What I mean by God is not the secular view but a universal one. God is responsible only for evolution and sustainability of life on earth. Once accomplished; how we conduct our lives is up to us. All life from the simplest one cell organisms to complex mammals are linked by Evolution and God.
The article is written for you to think about the evolution of life over billions of years and how all life forms are linked intimately together. I do not give references for this theory on the evolution of life but through understanding and a political will we may help preserve and stabilize the health of our planet , thus our own survival.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I have been retired from academia for over a year now during that period of time I have had time to reflect upon my career and the impact that I might have had on the veterinary students that I was fortunate enough to teach over my academic lifetime. Although I taught in large animal medicine, pathology, clinical pathology, animal science and finally small and medicine the main focus of my academic career has been nutrition. As a veterinary student and as a new  academic, I accepted as truth what my professors and what the pet food industry representatives told me concerning nutrition.. When I started teaching nutrition I embraced pet food industry I invited them to come in and talk to my students about their products, I recommended their products to clients I really had only a superficial understanding of nutrition and its influence on both the health and longevity ourselves and pets.

Monday, October 19, 2015

SNAP Smart Nutritional Advice for Pets by Meg Smart DVM PhD. Veterinary Clinical Nutrition

SNAP Smart Nutritional Advice for Pets:  An app for android and Apple phones

SNAP will individualize the nutritional needs and the health status of pets over their life time. A pet’s current diet can be evaluated or you can use SNAP to evaluate potential diets. Treats can be included in this evaluation. SNAP is a diary of a pet's diet and health.

 No longer will guesstimates be part of a pet's dietary history.A pet's current nutrient intake can be compared to the  industry nutrient standards and/or to the ancestral or prey diet.. You   will be able to evaluate and score  pet store, specialty and  veterinary diets; both kibble or alternative, to determine if they are suitable.

SNAP is a valuable tool for pet owners, veterinarians, veterinary animal health technicians and veterinary  students, or any one interested in pet nutrition

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Looking for theSafest,Healthiest Pet Foods? Good Luck with That. by Zach Carter, Senior Political Economy Reporter, The HuffingtonPost

a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pet-food-safety_55b67875e4b0a13f9d1976e7?kvcommref=mostpopular">Looking for the safest, healthiest pet food?Good Luck with that. 
This is a link to article that sums up the complex interactions among the pet food industry, government, FDA and the Food Safety Modernization Act. This was originally posted on the American Academy of Veterinary  Nutritionist Discussion site. by Craig Datz AAVN  President

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Broad Definition of Nutrition: Nutrition is more than ingredients Meg Smart DVM, PhD

Go to your backyard or the park and pick up a handful of soil, smell it,  run it through your fingers even taste , fell the texture and check the moisture. If each reader did this and then submitted their findings to me to summarize; the results in most cases would be  significantly different depending on your location.This close scrutiny of the soils still does not tell you the soil pH, nutrient content and availability, the amount of fibre and organic matter. As well we will have no idea of how healthy the soil 's microorganisms are. In many cases that soil represents the types of soil  that our food is produced on whether primary crops or as feed for livestock and poultry. But do all these different soils produce crops of similar nutrient value and do  we understand all those factors that influence the nutritional adequacy of the plants grown on soil or do we care?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Renal Diets: The Importance of Proper Nutrition and a Comparison of Available Diets by Jessica Fung and Kimberly Hsu


        Chronic renal failure (CRF) is a problem in small animal practice, with 15-20% of all older dogs and cats exhibiting some degree of renal azotemia.4 The first goal is to identify the underlying cause of the renal disease, often this is not possible so treatment is directed at managing the complications of renal failure and maintaining quality of life.7 In dogs, CRF is progressive and irreversible, leading to uremia and death within months or years after the initial diagnosis. In contrast,  cats often have long periods of clinically stable renal function interspersed between episodes of progression.15 In addition to medical therapy, nutritional modification is one of the mainstays of treatment for chronic renal failure. Renal diets are formulated to modulate the metabolic disturbances and slow the self-perpetuating destruction of nephrons associated with CRF.

A series of 4th year student papers written in 2010

These papers were written in 2010, by my students as an assignment for their 4th Nutrition Elective. The data, results and conclusion drawn from this paper can be compared to the diets presently available from the same companies, to determine if any modifications of the2016 diets were made by the same companies. If changes have occurred have they cited the research to support the changes? One major change has been the sale of Iams to Walthams.

Hypoallergenic Diets By Laura McKenny and Julia Neer

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In human medicine, food allergy refers to adverse food reactions involving a humoral response mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE). Other food hypersensitivities involve cellular immune responses mediated by T lymphocytes. Food intolerance, by contrast, is a non-immunologic adverse food reaction (Hillier and Griffin, 2001).
Figure 1: Classification of adverse reactions to food (Kennis, 2006).

Both Type I and Type IV hypersensitivity reactions have been reported in dogs. The ACVD task force recommends using the terms “adverse food reaction” in veterinary medicine to refer to an aberrant reaction after ingestion of food or additives since the true pathogenesis is often very difficult to determine (Hillier and Griffin, 2001).

Diabetes Mellitus by Germaine Hung and Kate Wood April 1, 2010

Diabetes Mellitus  
Diabetes mellitus is a relatively common disease in our companion animals.  Dogs typically have decreased insulin production and are dependent on insulin to manage the disease.  Diet may play a role in management as often these dogs are overweight.  In dogs, weight loss, complex carbohydrates, and fibre in the diet can help manage diabetes mellitus. Cats, however, tend to have a problem with insulin resistance, not insulin production, because of being overweight. One theory is the high processed carbohydrate content in most commercial dry diets may be contributing to obesity and  the development of diabetes mellitus; thus, a diet low in simple sugars and higher in protein may be beneficial.
               In recent years, the human-animal bond has become very important.  People are treating their pets as part of the family and providing them with the best possible care has become a priority.  Along with this trend, the pet nutrition industry has also been growing with diets specific to a life stage, health condition, and even breeds.  Due to increasing demand, the number of pet diets available has increased exponentially .  To a client, the number of food choices can be overwhelming.  In addition to the over the counter diets, some wellness and  therapeutic  diets are available only through a veterinarian.
The task given to us as veterinary students was to evaluate the prescription veterinary diets available for diabetes mellitus and choose a corresponding commercial diet to compare to that is available from a pet store that might be appropriate for a diabetic patient, which, generally resulted in choosing weight loss diets for dogs and kitten diets for the cats.

Analysis of Therapeutic and Commercial Diets for Diabetes Mellitus, Allergies Weight Loss and Renal Disease:WCVM 4th Year Nutrition Elective Assignments

This series of paper was written in 2010, by my students as an assignment for their 4th Nutrition Elective. The data, results and conclusion drawn from these paper can be compared to the diets presently available from the same companies, to determine if any modifications of the2015 diets were made by the same companies. If changes have occurred have they cited the research to support the changes? One major change has been the sale of Iams to Walthams.

Introduction   to the Series (written by Meg Smart DVM, PhD)
Veterinarians are spokespersons for the pet food industry. A responsibility that should not be taken lightly. As advocates of the industry, veterinarians must understand nutrition and be able to judge independently what is best for the clients and their pets. In the past, veterinarians have left this responsibility in the hands of the industry and now the time has come for  the profession to take over the reins.
Our professional associations and veterinary schools have formed lucrative and mutually beneficial partnerships with the pharmaceutical and pet food industry.[i] These affiliations leave us as veterinarians accountable to the public, as trained professionals, to the verify the claims made on our behalf by these companies. The Canadian veterinary medical Association suspended the operation of its pet food certification program in 2007. In the fall of 2007 a brief survey of CVMA members indicated that:
  • “— 82% of CVMA members surveyed think the CVMA should continue to be involved in the certification and on-going monitoring of pet foods ensuring they meet nutritional standards.
  • 85% of CVMA members surveyed want the CVMA to be actively involved in the certification and ongoing monitoring of therapeutic diets distributed through veterinary clinics.
  • 84% of CVMA members surveyed support CVMA involvement in potential new federal regulation regarding pet food.” [ii]
An article appearing in Veterinary Economics  suggests that during these tough economic times, veterinary practices need develop strategies to grow their revenue. One opportunity is to increase the sale of therapeutic diets. Client awareness and education can be accomplished by “a nutrition advocate” position to increase this market. This individual must be well educated about the therapeutic diets sold; in order to serve as liaison between the veterinarians and clients.[iii] But who will educate this advocate ? Data have shown that while veterinarians place between 35% and 45% of patients on therapeutic diets, less than 7% of pets remain on the diet year-round. If owners have to come to the clinic each time they need more food, most will only keep their pet on the diet for about 3 months.[iv]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why the Pet Food Industry Lacks Transparency By Meg Smart DVM, PhD

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Healthy pet treats: Considerations when Buying Marion (Meg) Smart DVM, PhD

    • In 2014, at the PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Committee) trade show at the International Center. Mississauga Ontario, the number of new pet  treats is noticeably increased from previous years. This increase is in part related to a consumer fear of potentially unidentified fatal substances in treat ingredients sourced off shore. Should we also be cautious of treats made from local or north American sources? I visited many of the booths that were selling  treats (freeze dried, dehydrated, baked, extruded, frozen, raw, HPP (high pressure pasteurization). The question I asked was simple: "When you formulate your treats do you determine based on  the nutrient content of those treats how many treats can be fed without upsetting the nutrient balance of the pet's diet?" The answer was a unanimous" no " followed by "I never really thought about it."

A Proposed Research Project on the Role the Gut Microbiota Plays in Carbohydrate Metabolism in Cats By Marion (Meg)Smart DVM, PhD

This is a draft of a proposed research project that examines the role of the gut micro biota and diet in the pathophysiology of obesity and diabetes in cats. I am retired June 30th, 2014; so am sharing my thoughts with my readers, as I think it is a proposal worth considering.