What's the scoop on immunostimulants in pets? (Proceedings)
The recognition that dietary constituents play a significant role in not only maintaining good health, but also preventing chronic disease, is a relatively new phenomenon in veterinary medicine in comparison to the long history of pet nutrition and studies of nutritional deprivation. For example, the use of supplemental vitamins, iron, and other minerals has been widespread for more than 50 years. Indeed, western populations have revolved around the concept that nearly everything can be provided in pet food. In contrast, the perception that foods themselves are beneficial and can provide much greater clinical and biochemical improvements to patients than pills, is a relatively new finding. Clearly, the whole is better than individual components, i.e. consumption of diets rich in antioxidants such as green vegetables, is far better than taking a dietary antioxidant tablet. This concept although well known in humans, is only now gaining attention in our profession
Although this concept may seem obvious to most scientists, it is still not as widely accepted in the general population as one would expect. Indeed, one has only to go through the shelves in pet stores to appreciate that at least in the United States, a great deal of money is spent on dietary supplements. Indeed, even within the pet food industry that recognizes the importance of dietary quality control, there is still ill conceptions on how pet food should be prepared, the interactions between food ingredients during preparation, and, in particular, the relative absence of the long-term epidemiologic consequences of poorly designed pet food. We seem to accept that diet is healthy without a scientific basis, the mechanism of action. Hardly a week goes by when we are not told of the benefits of green tea, of red wine, of grapes, of eating fish, but the proof of the pudding, namely evidence based research, remains lacking. These concepts have now made it into the veterinary literature and our daily practices.
In this talk I we place these concepts in perspective with emphasis on immune stimulants with respect to the following
1 Greco DS Nutritional supplements for pregnant and lactating bitches. Theriogenology. 2008 Aug;70(3):393-6. Epub 2008 Jun 12