September, 2021

September 21, 2021

Dr. Jennifer Graham Receives 2021 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health (Quest) Award

Dr. Jennifer Graham Receives 2021 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health (Quest) Award

Oxbow Animal Health has announced Dr. Jennifer Graham as the recipient of the 2021 Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health (Quest) Award. Established in 2009, the Quest is presented annually to an animal health professional who advances the field of exotic mammal medicine and care. Dr. Graham, who serves as Associate Professor of Zoological Companion Animal Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, was presented with the award at the 2021 ExoticsCon conference in Nashville, Tennessee at a reception in her honor in September.

“Dr. Graham is an exceptional ambassador for the exotic veterinary medicine profession and we are so honored to recognize her with the 2021 Oxbow Quest Award,” said Dr. Micah Kohles, Vice President of Technical Services & Research at Oxbow Animal Health. “In addition to her accomplishments as an educator, researcher, and veterinarian, Dr. Graham is an exceptional human being. Her humble nature, kindness, thoughtfulness, and graciousness form a legacy all their own – a legacy that’s perhaps more important than work in any field. Jennifer is a tireless champion of the work of others, but she is equally tireless in her support of the people behind the degrees, the research, and the letters after the name.”

“I am so very grateful to be honored as the recipient of the 2021 Oxbow Quest Award (Oxbow Exotic Mammal Health Award),” said Dr. Graham. “Thank you to the Oxbow Animal Health family for such a magical celebration. The outpouring of love I received from all of you will be forever treasured!”

Jennifer Graham, DVM, DABVP (Avian/Exotic Companion Mammal), DACZM is Associate Professor of Zoological Companion Animal Medicine at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Dr. Graham became board certified through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) in Avian medicine in 2002. She became a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine in 2008. She was also on the organizing committee for the ABVP-Exotic Companion Mammal practice category and became certified in this practice category in 2009.

Dr. Graham is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), and the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV). Dr. Graham served as the ABVP Residency Chair from 2009-2013 and holds positions on several veterinary committees.

The Oxbow Quest Award is based on excellence in one or more of the following areas: exhibiting leadership in the field of exotic mammal health, advancing the understanding of clinical diseases and treatments in exotic mammal pets, promoting the field of exotic mammal medicine, promoting the field of exotic mammal nutrition or providing innovation to the field of exotic mammal medicine. Nominations are made by submitting a CV and letter of recommendation describing the individual and how they exemplify the above qualities. For more information, visit https://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/vet-connect/awards.

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September 20, 2021

Top 10 Foraging Accessories for Small Pets

Top 10 Foraging Accessories for Small Pets

Did you know your little loved one is wired to want to work for their food?  The engrained instincts of rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small pets to forage for nutrition is directly tied to their natural behaviors in the wild, where calories are harder to come by.   

In the wild, your pet’s wild cousins will spend hours each day searching high and low for sustenance. Your pet’s life is undoubtedly cushier than that of its furry ancestors, but the desire to forage remains.  Supporting your pet’s foraging instincts offers many valuable benefits, including: 

  • It’s fun!  Pets enjoy working for their food, and it’s a blast to watch them being active as they interact with the word around them 
  • It’s physically enriching!  Getting up and moving is good for all of us and pets are no exception.  Providing healthy foraging options provides your pet with valuable physical exercise each day.  Pets that exercise on a daily basis are less likely to become overweight.  This decreases the likelihood that they will suffer from obesity-related illness in the future.   
  • It’s mentally enriching as well!  Being active and searching for food (rather than having it simply poured into a bowl 100% of the time) provides important mental health benefits for your pet and helps keep their mind sharp through daily exercise.    

Foraging Foundations: How Do I Get Started Supporting My Pet’s Foraging Instincts? 

Ready for some great news?  Providing healthy foraging opportunities for your small pet isn’t rocket science!  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  If you’re new to concept of foraging, we suggest getting started with our article on how to support foraging in healthy ways.  

Too Good to Be True?  Watch Out for Muesli and Forage Mixes! 

When it comes to promoting your pet’s foraging behaviors in healthy, meaningful ways, beware of products (particularly foods) that seem too good to be true.  Muesli and forage mixes claim to support the foraging instincts of small pets, but have been shown to have the opposite effect.  Learn more about the truth about mixes and foraging.

Ready to Add Some Fun and Excitement to Foraging?  Let’s Accessorize!

Once you’ve mastered the basics of encouraging your pet to forage in healthy ways, it’s time to take foraging to the next level.  Did you know Oxbow has a variety of enriching accessories designed to help?  Here’s our favorites when it comes to foraging: 

1. Hide & Chew Roll 

Made of high quality corrugate, this rocking roller is a furry fan favorite for its simplicity and interactive nature.  The inside of the Hide & Chew Roll is perfect for stuffing with your pet’s favorite hay variety.  Try hiding some pellets and a few healthy treat pieces inside the hay to make things especially enticing.  In addition to chewing on the safe corrugate, your furry friend will gain hours of entertainment foraging for the hay and treats inside.       

2. Forage Pot  

Photo by @martymousehouse

Not every pot is found at the end of a rainbow.  Our fan-fav Forage Pot is designed to be hung vertically to encourage your pet to be physically active.  The natural wood lid keeps the tasty contents of the Forage Pot hidden and requires your pet to work for their reward.  Fill the high-quality clay pot with your pet’s healthy food of choice.  To keep your pet engaged, try mixing the reward up on a regular basis.  Imagine their excitement expecting to find their yummy fortified food of choice one day and discovering fresh leafy greens the next.  Pure bunny bliss, we say!     

3. Forage Bowl 

Video by @coco.pebble

Is your beloved bunny or precious piggie guilty of inhaling their food?  No judgments here!  We all get excited at mealtime, and sometimes it’s hard to avoid scarfing down our favorite foods.  That’s why we specifically designed our Forage Bowl to slow things down at mealtime.  The rounded nubs at the bottom of the bowl will make your pet work just a little bit harder for their precious pellets.   

4. Hay Forager

Video by @coco.pebble

It’s no secret that big proponents of providing pets with hay in multiple locations throughout their habitat, and for good reason!  Having hay available in a variety of locations is one of the simplest and most effective ways to promote foraging for your hungry little herbivore.  Our Hay Forager makes a great addition to every habitat and attaches easily to habitat or X-pen walls.  Stuff the high-quality burlap forager with your little loved one’s favorite hay (or, better yet, a mix of several) and enjoy watching them forage the day away! 

5. Treasure Barrel

Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt?  Your favorite fun-loving forager is sure to love the challenge of “cracking the code” to get to the hay or treats hidden inside the corrugate barrel.  The Treasure Barrel clips securely and easily to the walls of your pet’s habitat or X-pen, encouraging them to “explore the space” in search of your food or healthy treat of choice.   

6. Hide & Seek Mat

It’s hard to pick a favorite when it comes to foraging and enrichment, but our Hide & Seek Mats would definitely be toward the top of the list.  For long-time fans of our 100% hand-woven hay Timothy Club products, the Hide & Seek Mats are an exciting, foraging-focused addition to this fan-favorite line.  Simply hide some food and/or healthy treat pieces within the nooks and crannies of the woven Timothy “tufts” and watch your pet’s foraging instincts on full display!       

7. Garden Forage Puzzle

Video by martymousehouse

Does it get any cuter than the Garden Forage Puzzle?  We don’t think so either.  The puzzle brings garden-themed fun to the act of offering food and treats.  Just fill up the carrot and lettuce-themed cups of the puzzle with a variety of healthy rewards and enjoy watching your furry friend nibble away one little cup at a time.    

8. Pull ‘n Seek

Photo by @bluberrythebun

If there was a pet-themed escape room, we’re sure the Pull ‘n Seek would be a staple.  Rather than searching for clues, however, this mentally engaging accessory is designed to stimulate your precious pet to complete the mentally-enriching task of pulling open the wooden drawers to reveal the delicious prize of your choice inside.   

9. Wobble Teaser

Video by @fendibun

The Wobble Teaser is fast becoming one of our favorites when it comes to enrichment and foraging.  This engaging accessory is a hit for pets and pet parents alike for the foraging fun and engagement that it adds to your pet’s day.  Your smarty pants pet will quickly discover that a little nudge leads to their favorite food sprinkling out for instant enjoyment.  And, with a clear design that allows you to visualize the food level, it’s easy to know when it’s time to refill your pet’s healthy food. 

10. Rolly Teaser  

 

 

Photo by @lennonthebunny

Eating food just from a bowl is so passé!  Much like the Wobble Teaser, the Rolly Teaser requires pets to work for their food in a fun and active way.  And, like the Wobble Teaser, the Rolly Teaser features an adjustable opening that allows you to control the flow of food.  So, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your little loved one roll their way to scrumptious nutrition in the form of their favorite food!

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September 10, 2021

The Truth About Mixes And Your Pet’s Health

The Truth About Mixes And Your Pet’s Health

by Cayla Iske, PhD | Nutritionist, Oxbow Animal Health 

Muesli and seed-based mixes have been popular choices for pet parents for decades.  In this four-part series, we're taking a closer, research-based look at the truth behind commonly held beliefs and claims regarding popular mixes.  

Missed an installment of the series?  Catch up on previous installments before reading on!


 

True or False: There is no evidence that mixes are bad for my small pet.

FALSE: As we’ve shown in our evaluation of previous claims about mixes throughout this series, there is an abundance of documented research that has proven that mixes aren’t healthy for rabbits, guinea pigs, and many other small exotic species.

To build on this existing research and take a more in-depth look at the composition and nutritional profiles of commonly available muesli and foraging mixes on the market, we decided to develop and complete our own nutritional evaluation of these products.

A Look at Our Nutritional Evaluation Process

Three top-selling muesli/foraging mixes were selected and methodically sorted into individual ingredients which were each analyzed for nutritional composition.

  • This process allowed us to determine specific percentages of individual ingredient makeup in each bag.
  • Furthermore, we referenced and utilized published selective feeding consumption data to calculate what animals would likely be consuming compared to the composition of what is in the bag.5

What’s In The Bag? Nutritional Component Breakdown
The following charts show all of the components included in each mix and what proportion of the bag they comprised.

Mix #1:

Mix #2:

Mix #3:

Notes on the Inclusion of Hay in Mix-Based Foods:

  • As referenced earlier, our evaluation of foraging mixes incorporating hay revealed inclusions at less than 1% of the entire bag.
  • Additionally, these pieces of hay fail to deliver the desired effect of stimulating foraging as animals eventually become uninterested in the hay and still select for the softer extruded pieces and grains.3
  • Nutritionally, the inclusion of this small amount of short, choppy hay provides no significant benefit to a pet’s dental or gastrointestinal health and does not replace any amount of the free choice loose grass hay you should offer. To this point, the “foraging” claim on these mixes is nothing more than marketing as nutritional and enrichment impact or benefit is nonexistent.

Which Ingredients are Likely to be Eaten?

The following charts show the nutrient composition of three popular mixes, compared to what small pets are likely to selectively consume. To calculate what animals would selectively eat, published research data was referenced which showed that pet rabbits consumed an average of 38% of pellets, 85% of extruded bits, 92% of grains, and 75% of hay in a mix.5

Nutritional Imbalances: A Look at Fiber and Starch
In analyzing the composition of popular mix-based diets, it is clear to see these products are nutritionally imbalanced for small herbivores.  Obvious nutritional imbalances include:

  • Inadequate Fiber
  • Excessive Starch
  • Inadequate Protein
  • Inadequate Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio

Fiber
Published recommendations for fiber in the diet of an adult rabbit is minimally 14% and typically the lower the starch, the better for gut health.15,16

On top of this, there are other potential negative attributes commonly seen in muesli mixes such as synthetic flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Understanding documented small mammal consumption patterns and what an animal is likely to consume from the mix, the issue of inadequate fiber is exacerbated, mainly stemming from selection against the pellet portion of the diet in favor of sugary fruits and starchy vegetables (most commonly peas, carrots, and corn).

Protein
Furthermore, minimum protein requirement for adult rabbits is recommended to be 12% which is not fulfilled by intake of any of the three mixes.15,16  

Calcium: Phosphorus Ratio

Lastly, a balanced calcium to phosphorus intake is vital for bone and tooth health maintenance, with recommended ratios between 1.5:1 and 2:1.16,17

Again, consumption of all mixes fell outside of this recommendation.

The Sticky Truth about Starch
As we know, these animals are hard-wired to selectively feed which will lead to unnecessary starch replacing critical fiber in the diet.

  • This inevitably leads to a greater likelihood of digestive health issues due to inadequate fiber which is the leading cause of gastrointestinal disturbance in rabbits.18,19
  • Diarrhea, GI stasis, obesity, and dental issues have all been linked to low fiber intake.17
  • Additionally, low fiber paired with high starch diets can result in disruptions to the microbiome (dysbiosis) leading to loose stools and bacterial overgrowth that can become life-threatening.20

Vitamins & Minerals
In addition to inappropriate levels of other key nutrients, our data show that selective feeding patterns may be leaving nutritional gaps in required vitamins because micronutrients are typically added to pellets that are selected against.1

For our purposes, vitamin A was used as a measure of micronutrient addition and inclusion. Adult rabbits have a recommended intake of at least 10,000 IU/kg of the diet.16 Using rabbits' natural and documented feeding patterns, none of the analyzed mixes will meet this nutrient requirement.

Because one of the primary purposes of pellets/commercial diets is to fulfill micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) requirements, this can lead to significant health problems. With guinea pigs, in particular, inadequate vitamin C intake resulting from selection against pellets (which contain the added vitamins and minerals) can be detrimental if not supplied elsewhere in the diet.


True or False: Mixes are perfectly adequate for my small pet and will support their health and well-being.

FALSE: Despite what manufacturers may lead you to believe, many popular mixes (including the three we analyzed) present real, potentially serious threats to your pet’s health and well-being.  Areas of health that can be negatively affected by mixes include:  

Digestive Health
The low fiber and high starch concentrations in mixes, when coupled to the concentrate selective feeding behavior of small animals, have serious implications for digestive health in small mammals, including the risk of GI stasis and potentially life-threatening changes to the microbiome.17,20

Dental Health
Mixes have also been directly correlated to an increased likelihood of dental issues in rabbits. In surveys and assessments of pet rabbits, the most commonly documented issue was dental disease which was directly linked to animals fed a muesli mix.3 Furthermore, scientific studies evaluating the adequacy of mixes have specifically noted radiographic changes in rabbits that are indicative of early dental disease.5

One study directly assessing dental health found that rabbits fed muesli mixes, even if hay is offered, had more tooth curvature and longer cheek teeth, both signs of early dental pathology, and 37.5% of rabbits fed only a muesli mix developed evidence of dental disease over the 17-month study.4

The research and data are very clear; muesli mixes dramatically increase the likelihood of rabbits and likely other small mammals with open-rooted dentition (constantly growing teeth) developing dental disease, which is one of the most severe and difficult to treat diseases in exotic companion mammals.


References

  1. Harcourt-Brown, F.M. 1996. Calcium deficiency, diet and dental disease in pet rabbits. Veterinary Record 139.23: 567-571.
  2. Lebas, F., P. Coudert, H. De Rochambeau, and R.G. Thébault. 1997. The Rabbit - Husbandry, Health and Production (2d edition) FAO publ., Rome, pg. 223.
  3. Mullan, S.M., and D.C.J. Main. 2006. Survey of the husbandry, health and welfare of 102 pet rabbits. Veterinary Record 159.4: 103-109.
  4. Meredith, A.L., J.L. Prebble, and D.J. Shaw. 2015. Impact of diet on incisor growth and attrition and the development of dental disease in pet rabbits. Journal of Small Animal Practice 56.6: 377-382.
  5. Prebble, J.L., and A.L. Meredith. 2014. Food and water intake and selective feeding in rabbits on four feeding regimes. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 98.5: 991-1000.
  6. Jekl, V., and S. Redrobe. 2013. Rabbit dental disease and calcium metabolism–the science behind divided opinions. Journal of Small Animal Practice 54.9: 481-490.
  7. Prebble, J.L., F.M. Langford, D.J. Shaw, and A.L. Meredith. 2015. The effect of four different feeding regimes on rabbit behaviour. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 169: 86-92.
  8. Miller, G.R. 1968. Evidence for selective feeding on fertilized plots by red grouse, hares, and rabbits. The Journal of Wildlife Management: 849-853.
  9. Somers, N., B. D’Haese, B. Bossuyt, L. Lens, and M. Hoffmann. 2008. Food quality affects diet preference of rabbits: experimental evidence. Belgian Journal of Zoology 138.2: 170-176.
  10. Gidenne, T., F. Lebas, and L. Fortun-Lamothe. 2010. Feeding behaviour of rabbits. In: Nutrition of the Rabbit, Eds: de Blas, C. and Wiseman, J. CAB International. Pgs: 254-274.
  11. Mykytowycz, R., 1958. Continuous observations of the activity of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.), during 24-hour periods. C.S.I.R.O. Wildl. Res.
  12. Myers, K., and W.E. Poole. 1961. A study of the biology of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.), in confined populations II. The effects of season and population increase on behaviour. C.S.I.R.O. Wildl. Res. 6, 1–41.
  13. Gibb, J.A. 1993. Sociality, time and space in a sparse population of rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Zoology 229.4: 581-607.
  14. Franz, R., M. Kreuzer, J. Hummel, J.M. Hatt and M. Clauss. 2011. Intake, selection, digesta retention, digestion and gut fill of two coprophageous species, rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus), on a hay‐only diet. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 95.5: 564-570.
  15. National Research Council (NRC). 1977. Nutrient Requirements of Rabbits: Second Revised Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  16. European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF), 2013: Nutritional Guidelines for Feeding Pet Rabbits. FEDIAF, Brussels (Belgium).
  17. Lowe, J.A. 2010. Pet Rabbit Feeding and Nutrition. In C. de Blas and J. Wiseman (eds.) Nutrition of the Rabbit 2nd ed.). CAB International. Pp. 294-313.
  18. Gidenne, T. 2003. Fibres in rabbit feeding for digestive troubles prevention: respective role of low-digested and digestible fibre. Livestock Production Science 81.2-3: 105-117.
  19. Rees Davies, R. and J.A.E. Rees Davies. 2003. Rabbit gastrointestinal physiology. Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice 6.1: 139-153.
  20. DeCubellis, J, and J. Graham. 2013. Gastrointestinal disease in guinea pigs and rabbits. Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice 16.2.: 421-435.
  21. Melillo, A. 2007. Rabbit clinical pathology. Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine 16.3: 135-145.
  22. Clauss, M., B. Burger, A. Liesegang, F. Del Chicca, M. Kaufmann-Bart, B. Riond, M. Hassig, and J.M. Hatt. 2012. Influence of diet on calcium metabolism, tissue calcification and urinary sludge in rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 96.5: 798-807.
  23. Tschudin, A., M. Clauss, D. Codron, A. Liesegang, and J.M. Hatt. 2011. Water intake in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from open dishes and nipple drinkers under different water and feeding regimes. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 95.4: 499-511.
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September 10, 2021

5 Ways to Memorialize Your Beloved Small Pet

5 Ways to Memorialize Your Beloved Small Pet

by Dianne Cook, LVT

As pet parents, our furry companions are important, cherished members of our families. They take up residence in our hearts as much as our homes and provide a level of unconditional love that is unique to the animal kingdom. When our beloved pets pass away, their loss can be crushing. The emptiness, unbearable. Though nothing can ever truly replace your departed fur baby, you can honor the life you shared in a variety of creative and personal ways.  

Memorial Options 

A fitting memorial is an excellent way to honor the unique bond you shared with your beloved furry friend. Not only will a memorial celebrate your pet’s life, companionship, and unwavering love, it may help ease your pain as you work through the stages of grief. The five memorial options below are not only beautiful keepsakes but will help keep your fur baby’s memory alive. 

Personalized Portrait 

If your heart yearns to see your little one’s face again, a personalized pet portrait can capture the very essence of your late friend. A framed likeness hung on the wall is certainly a beautiful, traditional option, but it is not the only one.  

  

Working with a talented digital artist, like Petsandprintco or ZKPortraitsWorkshop on Etsy, is not only a meaningful way to ensure your pet’s unique spirit is accurately captured but allows you the flexibility to have the image printed as a poster or provided in a digital file format. The digital files can be used to create t-shirts, coffee mugs, blankets, and more that feature your kiddo’s loving face.   

Outdoor Memorial 

Did your piggy pal love to spend time in the garden? Did your bunny binky at the chance to nibble on fresh grass? An outdoor memorial may be the perfect option. Pet memorial stones, pavers, and bricks are a great way to commemorate your nature-loving companion.  

When deciding upon an outdoor memorial marker, make sure it’s resilient and weather-proof so your keepsake remains lovely for years to come. Custom options, like the beautifully hand-crafted bricks from LaserandCrafts on Etsy, look attractive in any space and can be used as a grave marker, along a garden path, or placed in your furry friend’s favorite outdoor spot.

Ornaments 

The loss of a cherished pet is never easy, but it can be especially difficult around the holidays. A personalized ornament is an endearing way to keep your little one’s memory alive year after year. Memorial ornaments come in all shapes and sizes, and many are perfect for display outside of the traditional holiday season.  

Simple, elegant ornaments, like the personalized maple wood cutouts created by ALittleBitofSummer on Etsy, would not only look beautiful along with traditional holiday décor, but would also look lovely displayed on a picture frame, in a shadow box, or even hanging from your rearview mirror.  

Jewelry, Keychains, and Pocket Stones 

Sometimes you just need to keep a reminder of your furry friend with you always. If you feel this way, custom jewelry or a personalized keychain may be the perfect option.  

Memorial jewelry ranges from big and luxurious to small and subtle. Some jewelry makers create beautiful pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings from your pet’s ashes. Others offer lockets that feature some of your little one’s fur.  

If you’re not a fan of jewelry, a keychain may be a better option. Numerous artists create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind keychains offering many of the same features as memorial jewelry.

  

Small pocket-sized keepsakes are another meaningful option for folks who want to keep the memory of their pet close by. Riskybeads on Etsy create personalized pewter pocket stones that can be carried on your person or in a purse or backpack. Pocket stones can also be kept at your desk, on your nightstand, or anywhere you want to keep a cute reminder of your furry friend.  

Memorial Donation 

Memorializing your fur baby through a donation to your local humane society, animal shelter, or favorite rescue organization is an especially thoughtful option. In addition to honoring your little one’s memory, your financial support allows the recipient to continue their crucial rescue efforts.  

Though it varies by organization, memorial funds are most often used for direct animal care, spaying and neutering, and to support the organization’s animal-focused educational efforts.  

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September 01, 2021

Getting to Know Supplements: Natural Science Papaya Support

Getting to Know Supplements: Natural Science Papaya Support

The next supplement in our Getting to Know Supplements series is Natural Science Papaya Support.
 
Natural Science Papaya Support is designed to support your small pet’s digestive health but differs from Natural Science Digestive Support in its ingredients and physical format. While both supplements are all-natural and timothy hay-based, Papaya Support uses active enzymes from natural sources rather than the types of herbal ingredients used in our other Natural Science supplements. These enzymes, papain and bromelain, are found in papaya and pineapple and have several benefits including the breakdown of proteins to aid in digestion as well as anti-inflammatory properties. 

Why Isn’t Natural Science Papaya Support Baked Like the Other Supplements? 

The active enzymes (papain and bromelain) in Natural Science Papaya Support are not able to survive the high temperatures of the baking process.  For this reason, Papaya Support is compressed and tableted rather than baked.  This ensures these valuable ingredients are protected and available to your pets.

How to Determine If My Pet Could Benefit from Papaya Support 

The digestive system is vitally important in the health and well-being of small mammals. Issues or disruptions in digestion or digestive tract motility can lead to not only nutrient imbalances but serious overall health concerns such as gastrointestinal stasis as well as impacts to the immune system. Additionally, many potential health issues can manifest as digestive issues including stress and parasitic infection.  

Some signs and symptoms to look out for that indicate your animal may be having digestive issues include: 

  • Reduction in food or water consumption 
  • Changes in animal weight or body condition
  • Fecal changes 
    • Any change in consistency, size, or frequency of stools 
    • Large amounts of visible fur in the stools 
  • Reduced activity/lethargy 
  • Odd postures 
  • Abdominal stretching  
  • Hunched 
  • Changes in normal behavior 
  • Diagnosed or observed hairball issues 

Because any of the above symptoms could be indicative of other, larger issues, it is important to visit (or minimally call) your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss your observations and determine the best next steps. Upon a full examination, your vet may suggest additional diagnostics and/or therapies including Papaya Support as part of your animal’s treatment plan.

How is Papaya Support Different than Digestive Support? 

Both Papaya Support and Digestive Support are designed to aid in the process of digestion and promote digestive tract function and health via natural ingredients. Digestive Support utilizes plant-based herbal ingredients while Papaya Support utilizes active plant-based enzymes which break help down proteins. Protecting these important active enzymes is the reason for the differences in format, mentioned above. Papaya Support is highly palatable and a good option for pets struggling with GI issues and sensitivity to hair intake, as the proteolytic action of papain and bromelain help break up accumulations of hair and other materials within the GI tract.

 

How to Choose Between Papaya or Digestive Support? 

Natural Science Digestive Support and Papaya Support can work synergistically to support the digestive health of small pets when fed according to directions. With the input of your veterinarian, both Papaya and Digestive Support should be considered for your pet with digestive concerns.  

Every animal and clinical situation is unique, and you may discover that Papaya or Digestive Support works better for your little one, while other pet parents may observe that offering both supplements at the same time is ideal for their individual. The choice between these supplements should be dictated by your animal’s specific needs and the input of your veterinarian.

Is Papaya Support Good for Omnivores? 

Like herbivores, small omnivores are prone to digestive issues as well.  When fed in appropriate amounts, Natural Science Papaya Support can provide benefits to omnivores such as rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils. The insoluble fiber as well as active papain and bromelain enzymes offer relief for omnivorous species experiencing digestive troubles. As with any supplement, it is important to first consult your veterinarian before adding a supplement to your pet’s diet. 

Ingredient Functionality 

Fiber plays a key role in the digestive health of all species, both herbivores and omnivores included. While small herbivores require huge amounts of insoluble fiber and smaller amounts of soluble fiber in the diet, omnivores require fiber in the form of balanced soluble and insoluble sources to achieve optimal digestive health. This is why a complete and balanced diet is at the heart of maintaining healthy digestion for all species.  

For herbivores such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, offering a diversity of free choice grass hays in addition to high-fiber, uniform fortified food is one of the best ways to ensure adequate fiber.  Omnivorous species such as rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils should have a complete and balanced food supplemented by a diversity of greens, grains, and other dietary items. 

Natural Science Papaya Support was designed to accompany a complete and balanced diet to provide an extra boost of digestive aid. It was formulated specifically for small mammals, primarily containing timothy grass hay paired with ingredients contributing active enzyme activity to support and aid indigestion.

Ingredient Nutrient Function
Timothy Grass Insoluble Fiber  Promotes gut motility and a healthy gastrointestinal tract. 
Papaya Natural source of papain Plant-based proteolytic enzymes that break down proteins to aid in the digestion process; anti-inflammatory to help to reduce digestive tract inflammation
Papain Papain (active enzyme) 
Pineapple Natural source of bromelain 
Bromelain Bromelain (active enzyme) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Feeding Recommendations 

  • Herbivores including rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas: 
    • 1 to 2 tabs per day  
  • Omnivores and other small animals including rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils: 
    • 1/2 tablet per day  

Supplement FAQs 

When considering adding supplements to your pet’s diet there are a number of questions to work through with your veterinarian. General health status, previous issues/conditions, and existing medications are just a few factors to be considered. To help with the decision to add Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements either for short or long-term use, we’ve created a list of FAQs to help answer some common questions. 

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