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Fundamentals of Animal Nutrition
The health and viability of an animal depend on an adequate supply of nutrients i.e., substances like carbohydrates, fats and proteins that an animal body utilises as sources of energy or as parts of its metabolic machinery.
One of the essential properties of all living organisms is the metabolism – the process of absorbing, converting and secreting various compounds. If the metabolism breaks down all other bodily activities will soon come to a standstill. A very important task of the metabolic machinery is to provide sufficient energy. Carbohydrates and fats are the most important sources of energy, with the protein components, amino acids, only being used as a source of energy if present in excess of that needed for their specific functions or in the case of a deficiency of calories from carbohydrate and/or fat.
The quantity of energy a body needs is divided into the amount required for maintenance living, that is circulation, respiration, digestion, etc., and the amount needed for performance – growth, vigorous physical activity, work, and reproduction. It is vital, therefore, that an animal receives sufficient energy-yielding nutrients to cover its total energy requirements.
If we consider the animal organism as a metabolic machine, however, whose chief function is to break down organic food substances into molecules to manufacture its own “parts” and/or obtain energy, we soon realise how important and essential the catalytic and regulating mechanism is to the operation of the machine. This mechanism consists of enzymes and their cofactors, which may be “active” substances and/or “accessory food factors”. These enzyme systems do not supply energy to the body but are essential for the transformation of energy and to the structure and regulation of the metabolic machine. Sometimes only traces of these factors are necessary, but all are essential to the organism and without which normal bodily activities would break down.
We at NEKTON assure you that the very latest results of scientific research and an up-to-date knowledge of the various aspects of animal nutrition have gone into the development of all our products. Used correctly they will help you give your pet the best possible protection against deficiency illness or diseases.
We will look at some of the groups of effective substances or nutrients and their funtions or effect on the organism of an animal in detail on the following pages.