Submitted to: Society of Theriogenology Annual Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Overnutrition involving individual or multiple nutrients occurs frequently in young dogs, principally for iatrogenic reasons associated with misinformation and misconceptions. One justification that is offered for oversupplementation of diets for puppies is improved rates of growth and development; another is potential enhancement of immunity and therefore greater protection from infectious diseases. However, objective data to support or disprove these hypotheses generally are lacking. To examine these questions, immune function and growth were assessed in two 10-week studies of growing puppies fed increased or decreased dietary protein, or excess vitamins and minerals. In Study 1, feeding 37% protein, with associated reduction in fat and fiber, offered no obvious advantage over the more traditional 27% protein diet. No offsetting advantages to the economic disadvantage of high protein intake were identified. Puppies fed a low protein diet (17%) had an increased primary antibody response to tetanus toxoid antigen, for reasons that currently are speculative. In Study 2, feeding a vitamin-mineral supplement at twice the recommended dose resulted in no physiologic or growth advantage, by the parameters measured.