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By Leslie Kuczynski, VMD, DAVIM

Does my pet really need this special food?

An important part of medical management of many diseases can be dietary therapy; however, special prescription diets are higher in cost and can be less convenient to obtain that over the counter pet foods. Because of that, the question of how necessary is this special diet, often comes up. Depending on the medical condition of the pet in question, special diets are prescribed for different reasons.

Hyperthyroid, iodine-restricted diet (cats)

There is currently one diet on the market that is highly iodine restricted. This diet is intended to serve as a treatment for hyperthyroidism instead of medications or radioactive iodine therapy. This diet can be quite effective, but your cat must be fed ONLY this diet in order for it to be effective. Even very small amounts of other diets or eating this special diet out of an unwashed dish that previously contained another diet can increase the iodine content in your cat’s food to make this diet ineffective. You must have dedicated dishes for your cat to eat this diet out of. Your cat cannot eat other treats or diets that are not iodine restricted.


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