We have known for a long time that hunger and improper nutrition play an important role in the appearance of different diseases. But it has not been until recently that food has been used to manage many of them.
A therapeutic diet is not medication. It is food produced specifically for a certain medical condition. It has a very simple basis: “it contributes what is beneficial and avoids what is harmful”, since certain ingredients and nutrients may be beneficial for certain diseases.
Nowadays it can be confirmed that these products have lengthened the average lifespan of our pets, and their quality of life. However, pet owners must have confidence in the prescribed diet in order to use it correctly, since many believe that their pet will not recover if it does not receive powerful prescription medicines. The truth is that this type of diet causes the desired changes and sometimes complete recovery without the aggressiveness of certain chemical products.
The effectiveness of therapeutic diets depends on the correct diagnosis of the disease and on including the diet properly in the global treatment programme.
There are certain conditions, such as gastritis, gall- or kidney stones or inflammatory bowel disease, than may be cured without medication or at the very least by prescribing a minimum dosage only during the acute phase.
In other processes, such as hepatitis or heart disease, diet is an important part of therapy, but specific medications must be added to achieve complete recovery. In these diseases, diet helps the animal’s general condition and avoids adding ingredients that could be detrimental to it, such as salt for heart disease. It also contributes nutrients that help cure or stabilize the disease.
In sum, its efficacy depends on the type of medical condition and on the correct selection of the diet. Diet may be the only therapy prescribed or a complement to it, although it is true that not every disease has a diet of reference.
Therapeutic diets are only found in veterinary practices. You should keep in mind that we are not talking about a toy, nor about a bed for your dog, nor about doggy treats. These are foods specifically designed to treat your best friends’ medical conditions and, for this reason, they should be in the hands of professionals.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
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