This paper’s purpose is to outline the nutritional requirements, as well as discuss the anatomy and physiology of the digestive system for monogastric animals. It will define the key nutrients necessary for proper bodily function and overall maintenance of an animal, the digestive processes required to enable the absorption of these nutrients as well as the bi products that are produced, and the impact that a proper diet can have on an animal. It will also briefly discuss the different techniques commonly recommended for feeding your pet, and how these techniques can be utilized to provide optimal nutrition for your pet. For exemplary purposes, it may refer to the digestive systems and nutritional requirements of canines and felines, however these concepts can easily be applied to other monogastric animals, with certain nutritional modifications being made depending on the species in question.
Keywords: nutrients, digestion, monogastric animals
A significant factor in an animals health is proper nutrition. There are many nutrients that contribute to the lifespan and the quality of life in a healthy pet. There are 6 major nutrients that are required for proper nutrition. These major nutrients include water, carbohydrates, lipids(fats), proteins, vitamins, and minerals (Campbell & Campbell, 2009, p. 257). While some of these components are essential and have to be derived from diet, others can be produced by the body or obtained through an external source. a combination of these six categories is necessary for the body to maintain normal growth habits,reproductive capabilities, physical qualities, and generalised bodily maintenance(Case, Daristotle, Hayek, & Raasch, 2011, p. 3). The variation of concentration of these nutrients and their sources, as well as certain disease processes affecting the bodies ability to absorb them, can have positive and negative effects on an animal’s bodily function and overall health.
Proteins are utilised for a variety of different purposes in the body, including comprising a structural component of hair, feathers, nails, tendons (which connect muscle to bone) ,cartilage and ligaments(which connect bone to bone), as well as assisting in the creation of connective tissue, and the control of muscle actions and metabolic processes, among other things.(Case, et al., 2011) noted that Proteins are complex molecules that, like carbohydrates and fats, contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. In addition, all proteins contain the element nitrogen, and the majority contain sulfur.. The presence of different concentrations of nitrogen in an animal’s body can be a good indicator of the level of protein they have available for use. Proteins consist of chains of amino acids that are connected by peptide bonds. They can vary in size and complexity depending on the amount of amino acids present in the chain, and what the chain is combined with (Case, et al.,2011 pp. 21-25). There a total of twenty two known amino acids, only twelve of which can be naturally synthesized, or created, by an animal (therefore making it generally unnecessary to supplement for these in a diet). Ten of the amino acids that must be supplemented in a diet are Phenylalanine, Valine, Threonine, Methionine, Arginine, Tryptophan, Histidine, Isoleucine,Leucine, and Lysine. Taurine is an eleventh amino acids that is separated from these in that it is not normally found in proteins but can be found in tissues instead as a free amino acid (though is still an essential dietary component). Taurine is specifically important when referencing the dietary needs of felines. It is necessary to supplement Taurine in a feline diet due to their inability to synthesize it. Taurine is a key factor in reproductive health,vision capabilities, proper functioning of the heart, the formation of conjugated bile acids, and many other bodily processes in the feline body (Campbell & Campbell, 2009). This is important when selecting a diet for felines, as Taurine is only found in animal tissue, making the majority of feline species obligate carnivores. Outside of Taurine, a majority of an animals amino acids are obtained from proteins, a large portion of which are animal based proteins, with plant proteins being utilised in lesser frequency. While plant proteins are a good source of protein, animal proteins are the preferred source for most monogastric animals. This is due to the high concentration of amino acids present in animal meat.
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