Modern medicine has been wildly successful in treating a wide range of illnesses in people and animals. But, people are becoming increasingly aware of what they put into their bodies. Things such as herbal teas and plant roots are gaining popularity as ways to fight off sickness or to lessen its effects. A similar phenomenon is happening in animal health.
Researchers are working to discover new nutritional products that could help support the immune system, which also decreases the need for medicines that treat illnesses. Diets, including nutritional products, are tailored to animals’ needs. Just as the diet of an Olympic athlete is very different from that of an average senior citizen, an animal is fed based on its stage of life and activity level. For example, a milking cow or a pregnant cow will be fed differently from a growing calf.
Animal diets are becoming more sophisticated and better balanced in order to optimize animal health. Minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, zinc and others can significantly influence the health of an animal. Finding the right balance can help reduce susceptibility to illness, and therefore the need for medicine, while also minimizing the animal’s consumption of natural resources. How? Because when an animal is healthy and its digestive tract and immune system are functioning properly, it grows and eats efficiently, unlike sick animals, which may never reach their potential.
The feed that animals eat accounts for 65-75 percent of the total cost of raising farm animals, so farmers pay close attention to animal feed in the interest of keeping animals healthy and maintaining economic viability. Animal feed formulation is the process of quantifying the amounts of feed ingredients that need to be combined to form a balanced diet for livestock and poultry, with a goal of meeting nutrient requirements. There is extensive research and scientific grounding to support these formulations.
Nutritional products are making a real difference. Studies show they are helping to: support animal immune systems and improve overall intestinal health. As a bonus, many of these products are all natural and made from renewable sources like quillaja trees.
The goal is to keep animals as healthy as possible, helping to reduce the need for animal treatments, including antibiotics. In fact, we’ve changed how antibiotics are used in animal agriculture. We agreed to limit their use, with the goal of ensuring they are available and effective when needed to reduce animal pain and suffering. Learn more about animal antibiotics here.
The evolution of agriculture is powered by research and development of new products and practices that enable farmers to help optimize animal health. Nutritional products are an important piece of the puzzle.