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Digestive Enzymes

Natural Pet Animal Hospital

Next time you watch a nature show on TV about wolves watch closely when the pack makes a kill. Sometimes the announcer even talks about how only the alpha wolf has first dibs on the choicest meats. What do the alpha’s eat first? The GI tract. Why? He needs those rabbits’ digestive enzymes to help him process his food. The carnivorous pancreas cannot secrete all of the enzymes necessary for proper digestion. For thousands of years dogs and cats have relied on enzymes already found in their food to provide part of their digestive enzyme requirement. Enzymes in preys’ GI tracts provide the perfect required enzyme addition for proper digestion. Unfortunately, enzymes are inactivated above 120 degrees making all processed foods devoid of enzymes due to high cooking temperatures. Even most raw food diets are missing some enzymes, as most people do not provide entrails as a part of the diet.

The pancreas supplies 3 main enzymes but the body requires several more for correct digestion. Interestingly, dogs and cats also require maltase and lactase, which are not secreted. The intestinal cells of healthy animals secrete these enzymes. If animals have enteritis or another GI inflammatory process, than they cannot fully process carbohydrates and fermentation takes place. This leads to an overgrowth of bacteria and an exacerbation of the diarrhea.