There’s no arguing that 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 or plant roots are gaining popularity as ways to fight off sickness or to lessen its effects. A similar phenomenon is happening in the animal health community.
While a lot of the “natural” supplements found in health food stores don’t have scientific backing, that’s not the case with animal health. Researchers are working to discover new nutritional products that could help decrease illness, which also decreases the need for medicines that treat illnesses.
The diet of an Olympic athlete is quite different from what you and I regularly eat. Similarly, we feed animals based on their stage of life. A milking cow or a pregnant cow will be fed differently than a growing calf.
Animal diets are becoming more sophisticated, more targeted to stage of life, and better balanced in order to meet the needs of animals. Minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, zinc and others can significantly influence the health of an animal and therefore its performance.
What animals are fed 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 all nutrient requirements.
Nutritional specialty products are making a real difference in farm animals. Studies show they are helping 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 and yeast.
The goal is to bolster animal health and reduce disease, which may help reduce the need for other animal treatments, including antibiotics. In fact, we’ve changed how antibiotics are used in animal agriculture. We’re using less while preserving the ability to responsibly use them when needed to reduce animal pain and suffering. Nutritional products are part of the solution that helps us optimize animal health.
As a veterinarian, I took an oath to protect animal health. I appreciate having many different tools to accomplish that goal – nutritional products among them – and I’m impressed by the work being done to reduce the need for antibiotics. I also like it from the perspective of a mother who is concerned about antibiotic resistance. I’m proud of the agricultural community for stepping up to address this challenge in a responsible way, including through the collective commitment to innovative solutions.
I welcome your thoughts and questions. Please feel free to send me an email at AskDrDorman@pahc.com or call me at 844-288-3623. You can also browse our Resource Library to learn more about this important topic.