Today, Agriculture Minister David Marit proclaimed October 6 to 12, as Animal Health Week in Saskatchewan. This year’s national theme, “Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health,” is intended to remind animal owners that what and how much they feed their animals plays an important role in their animals’ health and well-being.
“Optimal nutrition can affect everything from an animal’s immune system to weight gain,” Marit said. “It’s important that all animal owners are fully aware of the important aspects of an effective animal health program.”
Animal Health Week has been celebrated across Canada for more than 30 years, and is proclaimed nationally by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). It’s supported in Saskatchewan by the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA).
This year, the CVMA is using the week’s theme to encourage animal owners to work with their veterinarians to discuss the unique nutrition needs of their animals, which can be affected by species, age and overall health.
Tips CVMA is highlighting during the week include:
• Optimal nutrition is central to optimal health and well-being.
• Diets must be appropriate for species, breed, age, and health status of an animal.
• Portion control is of utmost importance – obesity is a leading cause of illness and premature death in overfed companion animals. Underfeeding can negatively impact immune and reproductive systems.
• Body Condition Scoring is an effective hands-on tool that animal care-givers can use to assess the amount of fat an animal is carrying.
• All diets, prepared commercially or at home, must be formulated with appropriate balances of essential nutrients as required by your animal.
• Speak to your veterinary team for advice on types and amounts of food your animal needs.
“The SVMA supports national campaigns such as Animal Health Week to heighten public awareness of the benefits of veterinary care for all species,” SVMA Council President Dr. Victor Kernaleguen said. “Optimal nutrition is important for the well-being of animals and for the health of livestock consumers. Animal Health Week gives us a chance to highlight that, as well as discuss important measures such as vaccinations and biosecurity.”
More information about animal health and welfare in Saskatchewan can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/livestock.