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Ask the Vet – Ear Infections and Kitten Nutrition

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

Each issue, Dr. Edward Moser, a board certified veterinary nutritionist, answers your questions on pet food nutrition.

Q: Can chicken diets cause canine ear infections?

A: Allergic hypersensitivities and adverse food reactions are the most common causes of persistent, bilateral (both ears) ear inflammation and discomfort in dogs; also known as canine otitis externa.

Adverse reactions to food should always be suspected in dogs with non seasonal ear infections – even if accompanied by secondary bacterial or yeast infection. These ear reactions are occasionally accompanied by mild GI upsets. In one study, about 80% of dogs with adverse food reactions showed evidence of otitis externa, with one fourth of the patients exhibiting otitis externa as the only clinical sign.

Work with your veterinarian in planning an ear management program for your dog. This includes administration of topical and systemic medications to treat acute disease and an at home ear cleaning schedule.

Based on your observations of possible adverse dietary reaction, avoid chicken-based diets. In addition to using Wellness® Simple Food Solutions® Allergy Formulas.

Also try to keep an accurate food intake diary to help identify any relationship between ear discomfort and diet.

Q: I have an 8 month old kitten that has been on Wellness Kitten Health for a few months now. I have tried incorporating some canned food into her diet, but she doesn’t seem to like it. Will too much dry food be unhealthy for her at some point, in terms of hydration?
A: It is true that cats eating dry food only diets drink less water and consume less water in their food each day resulting in a lower total daily water intake versus cats fed a canned food.

Water and Feline Idiopathic Cystitis

Making sure your cat consumes more water in their diet has been shown to be useful in managing risk of recurrence of feline idiopathic cystitis (FIC). FIC is characterized by relapses of lower urinary tract disease signs: straining to urinate, bloody urine, and urinating in inappropriate locations. Currently, the only treatment associated with statistically significant improvement in a controlled study of cats with FIC is feeding moist food.

Feeding your cat a moist food will help increase daily water intake and urine volume. The urine will also be more dilute.

Wet foods can be fed:

  • In combination with their dry food to add variety
  • As a special treat by feeding several times a week
  • Alone as a complete and balanced meal

Wet food options:

Cats have a reputation for being finicky with their foods, and if you are having a difficult time introducing canned pâté style foods you could try pouch entrées which are sliced food in gravy as an alternative.

Wellness ® has several natural canned cat formulas in grain-free varieties, seafood varieties and a special lifestage formula for kittens. Wellness® Healthy Indulgence® pouches come in four varieties that are both grain-free and wheat gluten-free.

Other ways to increase your cat’s water intake include:

  • Increase the frequency of feeding into multiple small meals
  • Adding broth to foods
  • Placing ice cubes in the cat’s water
  • Introduce unique water bowls and water movement
  • Place several water bowls throughout the home

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