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Surf and Turf Issue

wag expert advice Can pets suffer from a vitamin D deficiency like people can? Will sunshine help? Yes, our pets actually can develop vitamin D deficiency just like we can. Vitamin D deficiency is called rickets. Symptoms in dogs can include lameness and, in puppies, abnormalities of bone growth. Cats can develop lethargy, weight loss and even neurologic signs. However, unlike us, dogs and cats do not depend on sunlight for the production of vitamin D. Instead, they fulfill their vitamin D requirements entirely through their diets. Since good-quality commercial diets provide adequate levels of vitamin D, the real risk for rickets occurs when pets are fed poorly balanced home-cooked meals. Dietary sources of vitamin D (other than fortified milk) include egg yolks and fatty fish. Talk to your vet about ensuring your pet is getting the proper amount of vitamin D in his regular diet. Are there any types of fish that I should not feed my cat? This is an excellent question — and unfortunately I don’t think there is a straight answer. I personally haven’t seen anything concerning specific types of fish in clinical practice, and I feed my own cats a lot of fish-based canned cat foods (they happen to prefer these flavors), but that doesn’t mean cats who eat excessive amounts of fish aren’t at risk. There is a general concern about feeding cats a large quantity of any fish that is known to be high in mercury. This includes tilefish, swordfish and tuna. We can logically assume that if eating these fish puts us at risk for mercury toxicity, then it can also be risky for feline friends. My advice would be: everything in moderation. An occasional small treat of a fish known to be high in mercury is likely not a problem, but feeding it day after day may not be the safest option. You can find plenty of online resources for risky fish species simply by entering “fish high in mercury” into your search engine — the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has several resources on this subject. This can help you to find lower-mercury options to share with your fish-loving feline. Do you have a question for a Petplan veterinarian? Go to: GoPetplan.com/ask-an-expert But note, please check with your regular veterinarian if the problem is persistent or requires immediate medical attention. Q: Q: the surf & turf issue 47


Surf and Turf Issue
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