Immune Compromised Pets and Raw Food Part 2 - Why TO feed raw to our immune compromised pets
Doesn’t common sense dictate the food with natural, easy-to-access nutrition is the best choice for our immune compromised pets?
I feed my cat with asthma and emphysema raw. She is also on immune-suppressive doses of depomedrol to manage her condition.
…and although this isn’t related to immune-suppression, I feed my cat with chronic kidney disease and pancreatitis raw.
My co-founding partner, Carolina, feeds raw food to her cats with inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and pancreatitis. In fact, raw food very likely saved her Bugsy’s life.
None of my pets has ever had a food-related illness. They are raw-fed for over four years. As I have (at the time this was written) 14 cats, I use supermarket meat to lower the cost of feeding.
Why did I decide to feed raw food to ALL of my cats, including my immune-compromised pets?
Our pets do not lose their defenses that protect them when eating their natural diet just because they become sick or their immune systems become compromised.
As Tracy Dion, owner of CatCentric, aptly puts it in Raw Feeding and Health-compromised Cats, “Cats are so finely-tuned for a diet of prey animals that it’s not only safe to put FIV+ cats on a raw diet, it’s vitally important to support their immune systems by feeding them the foods that are going to nourish their physiology at the highest levels.” After all “cats’ natural, inborn defenses against bacteria don’t disappear just because their health is compromised, they become FIV+ or catch an upper respiratory infection – the glands in their mouths still produce lysozyme-containing saliva, their stomach acids still kill incoming pathogens, their digestive tracts are still just about the shortest, comparatively-speaking, in the animal kingdom.”
Understanding the risks, we can take steps to mitigate them.
Understanding the symptoms of a problem, we can seek treatment. Salmonella infection is “rarely seen in cats,” and “most felines will only be carriers of the bacteria and there won’t be any clinical symptoms.” According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, salmonella is a normal part of the gut flora of dogs and cats (and other animals). But kittens and cats with weak immune systems are more susceptible to illness, so be aware of what to look for and do not delay taking your pet to see a vet: Salmonella in Cats at VetInfo.
Cats digest raw meat-and-organ based food best. Is it REALLY any surprise that food is more easily digested and the nutrition more readily metabolized by our pets when in a format they would naturally consume it? A study examining extruded (kibble) vs cooked (canned) and raw beef fed to cats demonstrates this, as does a study comparing digestibility of raw diets with a “canned heat-processed” diet in kittens. This study found that “Significantly higher digestibility of dry matter (P <0.001), organic matter (P <0.001), crude protein (P <0.001) and gross energy (P <0.001) was seen in the raw diets compared with the heat-processed diets. This difference resulted in significantly less fecal matter (P <0.001) despite similar levels of intake, kcal ingested and evidence of no difference in fecal scores.” Yep. This is the first thing we notice when transitioning to raw: there’s almost no waste product coming out of the cat. They seem to use so much more of the food they eat! Nice to know the studies confirm we’re not imagining it.
Because I control the ingredients and the quality of the food my cats eat. Commercial pet foods are focused on profits, not our pets’ health. The regulatory loopholes in commercial pet foods allow for unhealthy – even dangerous – ingredients. For more information, see
A new report Decoding Pet Food (Nov 2015) by The Cornucopia Institute (a non-profit food/farm policy research group) highlights “serious problems in pet food industry regulations and how specific loopholes allow for the use of questionable ingredients that could negatively impact companion animal health. …The report accuses some brands of using cheap ingredients, carcinogenic additives, and preservatives that are bad for long-term pet health, as well as attempting to intentionally deceive consumers with pet food labels.”
A 2007 report by Born Free USA, What’s Really in Pet Food? “explores the differences between what consumers think they are buying and what they are actually getting.” “…What most consumers don’t know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a convenient way for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, heads, hooves, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.”
A 2006 report by a Harvard Law student, Deconstructing the Regulatory Façade: Why Confused Consumers Feed their Pets Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes.
My Food versus “Pet Food.”
Which do you think is healthier for you? Canned soup or homemade soup made with freshly purchased ingredients? Canned green beans or fresh green beans? Dry cereal or a quinoa salad?
Why does my doctor recommend I eat as much fresh food as possible – and the FDA tells me to eat lots of fruits and veggies to promote my best health – but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and that very same FDA tell me that raw food fed to cats and dogs is dangerous for them AND me?
The very highly processed foods - and highly processed ingredients IN the foods - commercially available in cans, pouches and bags for our pets are, generally speaking, foods that contain adulterated ingredients as per the FDA’s definition; foods that contain ingredients too dangerous to put in a landfill. And even if they contained ingredients that met human grade regulations, the foods typically have been compromised by the addition and/or inclusion of additives, preservatives, pesticides, unnatural genetic material or chemical and/or heat treatments that alter or destroy the healthy enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals naturally present in fresh food.
My immune compromised pets are thriving since our transition to fresh, homemade food. Yours can be, too. www.FoodFurLife.com
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