Purina entered my life during my first year of veterinary school. I took my 10-month old puppy to a dog park in town. He made a Boxer friend and they were roughhousing. Apollo fell into a hole, only for a second, jumped back up and kept on playing. He started limping and I took him home, hopeful that he had just pulled a muscle. At this point in school, I didn’t know much about musculoskeletal diseases. I didn’t think my mixed breed puppy would be susceptible to a genetic problem that notoriously affects pure-breed dogs.
His limping continued for the next few days, so I took him to the vet clinic where I worked.
What’s your diagnosis?
- Signalment: 10-month old, male neutered mixed-breed dog, 55 lbs
- History: Started acutely limping after falling in a hole at the dog park
- Physical Exam: All normal except a positive Ortolani sign in the Left hip
Example of Ortolani Maneuver:
We decided to take radiographs and do some blood work.
His CBC was normal, but his Chemistry Panel showed an increase in AST and a huge increase in Creatine Kinase. These two values suggest muscle atrophy.
Next, we took radiographs and received the final diagnosis:
Can you guess what his diagnosis was? (I’ll give you the answer at the bottom of this post).
Needless to say, it was time to make some nutritional decisions for my dog. I talked to numerous employees at the UGA Teaching Hospital and they all pointed me toward the same company – Purina.
I didn’t realize that Purina made so many veterinary diets. This is because the clinic where I worked before veterinary school only carried Hill’s and Royal Canin. I heard anecdote after anecdote about how Purina Joint Mobility had helped dogs with varying joint diseases, which further intrigued me. In an effort to learn more, I readily jumped at the opportunity to become a Purina Student Rep at UGA, I applied, got the job and it has been one of the best decisions of my life.
What is Purina Joint Mobility (JM)?
All veterinary therapeutic joint diet formulas claim to help reduce inflammation and slow the development of osteoarthritis. However, palatability and benefits can vary from product to product. One of the main benefits of Purina JM is that it is formulated for both adult and growing dogs, which is great news for puppies that genetically may be more predisposed to joint disease!
Purina JM contains:
- High levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to support joint health
- Natural source of glucosamine to help support cartilage health
- High protein to calorie ratio to help support muscle mass
- Reduces enzymes involved in cartilage breakdown
- Optimal levels of EPA and DHA to help reduce the inflammatory response
EPA and DHA
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that competes with arachidonic acid (AA) in the COX-2 pathway. EPA produces less inflammatory cell mediators than AA, and through proper supplementation can outcompete AA to reduce inflammation. Additionally, research has shown that the levels of EPA and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid – another omega-3 fatty acid) in JM result in a significant increase of these fatty acids in the synovial fluid (within the joint capsule). This is important as the joint capsule is where the inflammation (and pain) is coming from in dogs with joint disease. It is very difficult for most products to cross into the synovial fluid, thus it is reassuring to know that what you are feeding your pet is actually getting where it needs to go.
The Results are in the Research
Veterinarians performed a 2-month in-clinic feeding trial for 146 individual patients with joint disease. After 1 month, 79% of owners said their dog showed improvement on JM. In 2 months, this percentage raised to 88%. After the study, 91% of veterinarians were likely to recommend JM to other patients based on the improvement in their patients.
To further support feeding a diet high in fatty acids, arthritic dogs were fed a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and surveyed over 7-10 days. Weight-bearing was measured by force plate gait analysis.
These dogs showed a significant improvement over 7-10 days in weight-bearing on a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Why I will always feed Purina.
This isn’t some “corporate infiltration into veterinary medicine” scheme. Purina (along with its main competitors) has the research to support all of their veterinary therapeutic diets. Evidence. Based. Research. Purina creates diets to prevent and treat disease in our companion animal patients. I have been to the Purina headquarters in St. Louis twice now. Every time Purina’s scientists blow me away with their contributions to veterinary medicine. Additionally, I toured their immaculate pilot plant factory and witnessed first-hand the high standards of their food production. I strongly resonate with their core belief to provide balanced and high-quality pet food to people from all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Moreover, their diets work. Every time I have fed my dog something other than Purina JM, his limp returns. And it is not just JM that works. Scientists at Purina produced the first and only diet to nutritionally manage epileptic dogs as an adjunct to veterinary therapy. They developed a probiotic product, Calming care, that helps to reduce signs of anxiety in our canine companions. Purina’s Gastrointestinal diet (EN) is the first and only therapeutic diet formulated with bovine colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced after a mammal delivers a baby. This milk is rich in antibodies and has been shown to enhance the immune system in adult dogs. I could go on and on about Purina’s contributions to veterinary medicine. Purina’s diets have improved the quality of lives of so many of our companion animals and that includes my own dog Apollo.
Additionally, I strongly support Purina’s sustainability goals, including Zero Waste to Landfill by 2020. They have already reached 80% zero waste, and are set to accomplish this goal soon. Furthermore, I recently asked Purina’s Sourcing Expert about palm oil, a key ingredient for their products with MCT oil, like Neurocare and ProPlan Bright Minds. Harvesting palm oil has dire consequences on wildlife populations, the most famous being the Orangutan in Indonesia. In 2018, Purina became the first global food company to implement a satellite-based service to monitor 100% of its global palm oil supply chains to make sure that no deforestation occurs throughout the supply chain. As of now, 100% of Purina’s palm oil supply chain, certified or not, is monitored for deforestation using satellite imagery, with the goal to reach 100% RSPO sustainable palm oil by 2023.
Hip Dysplasia and Purina JM.
I told you I would give you the diagnosis eventually. Apollo was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 10 months old and proceeded to have a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy in December of 2017. It has been almost two years without an issue.
This blog post is not because I am an ambassador for Purina, but rather because I know their diets work. Ultimately, Purina has made me a better veterinary student and I expect this to translate into me becoming an effective veterinarian. Purina JM has both improved the quality of my dog’s life and my own life. I have seen the impact first hand of nutrition in my pet, and want to share the message with this incredible community.
“Purina is bad.”
This is one of my biggest pet peeves of all time. The next time a client or friend or random person on the street says, “I thought Purina was a bad pet food” please refer them to this post. Purina is by no means “bad”. Purina’s headquarters in and of itself is an amazing community of pet-lovers, with employee dogs coming in and out of the office all day and a dog park in the middle of their campus. They offer six months paid maternity leave to their employees and build domestic violence shelters where victims can bring their pets. Despite being a huge company, they continuously make efforts to improve the planet and move towards sustainability. Purina supports veterinarians by providing products that work and evidence-based research that we can present to clients.
Purina is inciting change and my hope is that more companies follow in their footsteps. I am grateful that as a future veterinarian, I have the ability to treat my patients with veterinary therapeutic diets. Purina, Royal Canin and Hill’s are all doing their part to create breakthroughs in nutrition that ultimately help our favorite furry companions live long and healthy lives.
Would you like to learn more about probiotics? Check out my post “Bullying and Bacteria” that won third-place in a student blogger competition hosted by the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN).
I hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to reach out should you have any questions.