Food. It is one the most marketed and confusing things for pet parents. There are plenty of over the counter foods that work for most animals, however when an animal is diagnosed with certain diseases, a specific diet can help slow progression of the disease or help aid in reversal.
Therapeutic diets are specifically available only by prescription from a veterinarian due to the nutritional difference that while in a diseased animal it might be appropriate, and in a healthy animal it could be detrimental. They are prescription only so that the veterinarian is involved in the decision and can monitor if the specific food is helping or not, as well as keeping these therapeutic diets out of healthy pet’s bowls so that they do not have decreased nutrient values and creating a problem.
These diets can help slow the progression or aid in reversal of a disease or problem, which means they are more of drug than food by the FDA. These therapeutic diets are researched with long term feeding trials, blood-work, and rigorous testing.
One such diet is for kidney disease. The amount of research that has gone into figuring out the right amount of protein, phosphorus, and other nutrition for early kidney care vs chronic kidney care is extensive. A healthy animal might not be receiving the appropriate amount of protein or phosphorus with a kidney diet, and therefore is potentially harmful, but it will help decrease protein loss from the kidney and decrease the amount of phosphorus that the kidney can no longer filter; resulting in a slower progression of disease than if the kidney animal was on an over the counter food.
There are multiple therapeutic diet options available at TLC, and our veterinarian will help you and your pet navigate the different diets available for a specific condition as well as help any healthy animal with over the counter selection of food.