Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March Raw Diet Update

Here's a comprehensive list of the variety of animal meat and organs that Luna has had:

  • Chicken leg quarters

  • Chicken giblets

  • Whole cornish hens, including giblets (but without feathers, head, feet, guts, etc)

  • Turkey neck and giblets

  • Beef shank

  • Beef organs: liver, kidney, spleen, heart

  • Various fish: mackerel pike, sardines, weakfish

  • Lamb shank

  • Duck, including giblets

  • Ox lips

  • Rabbit

  • Frog legs

  • One small lizard at my parents' house

  • One small moth that got into our house a few months ago

Luna's health has been maintained at the status quo, which is fine. Every now and then she has black-ish poop, but then it goes away. The vet says it could indicate upper digestive system bleeding or upset. We give her one half of a Pepcid AC (per vet orders) and it goes away.

Breath is not much of an issue, unless she is panting right in our face. Purportedly, raw fed dogs do not have bad breath, but this certainly is not the case with our pup.

While we were in Florida, she had fish for three meals within the span of a week (twice more than usual). Whatever the cause (we postulate that it was the increased fish intake), her fur seemed to be even softer than usual. We do try not to go too crazy with fish feeding, since some fish are known to be a source of thiaminase, an enzyme which metabolizes the essential vitamin B1, or thiamin. Thiamin itself is mostly found in vegetable sources, which we don't feed Luna much at all. Thus the restriction on weekly fish intake.

The USDA Nutrient Database has become one of my favorite nutrient references for Luna, since it even has nutrition information on raw meats and organs. It even has information regarding amino acid amounts, which are not listed on food labels. However, it's a bit cumbersome to try to compare two separate products. So I put together a simple comparison spreadsheet, listing nutrients for beef organs.

Owing to the findings from the database and the spreadsheet, spleen has a found a role as a special niche item in Luna's diet. Although liver is, hands down, the overall best multivitamin foodstuff for raw fed animals, spleen trumps liver in the categories of vitamin C and iron. The vitamin C content is notable because many raw feeders feel the need to supplement it. It is mostly found in fruits and vegetables, which couldn't even be called an insignificant part of Luna's diet. The iron content in the spleen would probably be helpful for a pet who's had recent blood loss. The high iron content of spleen makes sense, considering the spleen is a repository for extra red blood cells, and also creates red blood cells.

Judging by the fact that spleen has high iron content probably because of its hematopoietic role, I deduce that red bone marrow also has comparatively high iron content, since marrow is the primary producer of red blood cells. I have not been able to find much information on the actual nutritional content of bone marrow, which is why I had to take such leaps in logic.

Okay, let's see a show of hands (or comments) for anyone who actually read through all that. I don't blame any of you for skipping it, especially if you don't have pets or are not especially concerned with their nutrition. For anyone who raw feeds, your show of hand only counts half. And anyone who might come to this post looking for raw feeding info only counts half too.

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