In the realm of canine healthcare, Vetsulin stands as a pivotal medication, offering hope and relief for dogs grappling with diabetes. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of Vetsulin, shedding light on its significance, applications, dosages, potential side effects, and much more. Whether you’re a concerned pet owner seeking answers or a veterinarian in need of concise information, this article aims to be your go-to resource for all things Vetsulin-related.
A Vital Canine Medication
|Common Names||Vetsulin, Caninsulin (in some regions)|
|Drug Type||Insulin for dogs|
|Used For||Managing diabetes mellitus in dogs|
Vetsulin, also known as Caninsulin in certain parts of the world, is a specialized insulin medication formulated to address diabetes mellitus in dogs. This medication plays a critical role in the lives of dogs diagnosed with diabetes, helping them lead healthier and more comfortable lives. With its FDA approval, Vetsulin has gained recognition for its efficacy and safety in managing this chronic condition.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Veterinary Guidance
Before embarking on any medication journey for your beloved canine companion, it is imperative to consult with a qualified veterinarian. Diabetes in dogs is a complex condition, and the proper management of it requires a tailored approach. Your veterinarian will not only diagnose your dog’s specific needs but also provide guidance on the appropriate use of Vetsulin, including dosage and administration.
Our Mission: In-Depth Information for Dog Owners
The primary objective of this article is to equip dog owners with a comprehensive understanding of Vetsulin. We aim to provide accurate, detailed, and easy-to-digest information that empowers you to make informed decisions regarding your pet’s health. From the basics of what Vetsulin is to its potential side effects, we cover it all in a format that is user-friendly and accessible.
Now, let’s delve deeper into the world of Vetsulin for dogs, exploring its benefits, proper dosage, potential side effects, and much more. Your dog’s well-being is our top priority, and we believe that knowledge is the key to ensuring a healthier and happier life for your furry friend.
II. Understanding Vetsulin
In our quest to unravel the intricacies of Vetsulin for dogs, it’s essential to start at the very beginning. What exactly is Vetsulin, and how does it function within a canine’s physiology? Additionally, we’ll explore the array of common conditions and ailments in dogs that can be effectively treated or managed with this remarkable medication.
What is Vetsulin?
Vetsulin, also known as Caninsulin in some regions, is a specialized insulin medication formulated specifically for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in dogs. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin or the body’s resistance to its effects. In simple terms, it leads to elevated blood sugar levels in dogs, causing a range of health issues if left unmanaged.
Vetsulin steps in as a synthetic insulin analog that mimics the role of natural insulin in regulating blood sugar levels. It primarily contains porcine insulin, derived from pigs, which closely resembles canine insulin. This similarity in structure and function makes Vetsulin an effective treatment option for diabetic dogs.
How Does Vetsulin Work in Dogs’ Bodies?
Understandinghow Vetsulin operates within a dog’s body is pivotal in comprehending its significance as a medication. The key role of insulin in the body is to facilitate the uptake of glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into cells, where it can be used as an energy source. Here’s how Vetsulin functions:
- Glucose Regulation: Vetsulin works by promoting the absorption of glucose by muscle cells and fat cells. This action effectively lowers the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream, preventing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in diabetic dogs.
- Suppressing Gluconeogenesis: Vetsulin also curbs the liver’s production of glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. This further helps in reducing elevated blood sugar levels.
- Storage of Glucose: Beyond immediate energy needs, insulin signals cells to store excess glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles. This stored glycogen can be converted back into glucose when needed, ensuring a steady supply of energy.
- Balancing Blood Sugar: By regulating glucose levels, Vetsulin aids in preventing the classic symptoms of diabetes in dogs, such as excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and lethargy.
Common Conditions and Ailments in Dogs Treated with Vetsulin
While Vetsulin’s primary application is the management of diabetes mellitus in dogs, it can also be beneficial in addressing several related conditions and complications that often accompany diabetes. Here are some common conditions and ailments in dogs that Vetsulin can treat or manage:
1. Diabetes Mellitus:
As previously mentioned, Vetsulin is specifically designed for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in dogs. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, alleviating the symptoms associated with this chronic condition.
2. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA):
DKA is a severe and life-threatening complication that can occur in uncontrolled diabetic dogs. It results from a lack of insulin and the subsequent breakdown of fats for energy, leading to the production of toxic ketones. Vetsulin can play a crucial role in preventing and managing DKA when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
3. Cushing’s Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism):
Some dogs with diabetes may also develop Cushing’s disease, a condition characterized by excessive production of cortisol. Vetsulin may be prescribed in combination with other medications to help manage Cushing’s disease and control blood sugar levels.
4. Obesity-Related Diabetes:
Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes in dogs. Vetsulin can be part of a treatment strategy for overweight diabetic dogs, alongside dietary changes and exercise plans, to help manage their condition and promote weight loss.
5. Insulin Resistance:
In some cases, dogs with diabetes may develop insulin resistance, where their bodies do not respond effectively to insulin. Vetsulin, with its similarity to canine insulin, can sometimes be more effective in managing insulin-resistant cases.
It’s important to note that the use of Vetsulin in treating these conditions should always be under the guidance of a veterinarian. Proper diagnosis, monitoring, and dosage adjustments are essential to ensure the best possible outcome for your dog’s health.
In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into the practical aspects of using Vetsulin for diabetic dogs, including dosages, administration, and monitoring.
III. Benefits of Vetsulin for Dogs
Having gained a solid foundation in understanding what Vetsulin is and its mode of operation, we now shift our focus to the tangible benefits this medication offers to our four-legged companions. Vetsulin’s effectiveness in treating specific canine health issues and its potential to significantly enhance the quality of life for diabetic dogs cannot be overstated.
Effectiveness in Treating Specific Canine Health Issues
1. Blood Sugar Control:
One of the primary benefits of Vetsulin is its remarkable efficacy in regulating blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs. This is pivotal for the overall health and well-being of the animal. When blood sugar levels are well-managed, it helps prevent the adverse effects of hyperglycemia, which include increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and fatigue.
2. Symptom Alleviation:
Diabetes in dogs can manifest in various distressing symptoms, such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, and an insatiable appetite coupled with weight loss. Vetsulin’s ability to normalize blood sugar levels can alleviate these symptoms, restoring a sense of normalcy to the dog’s life.
3. Reduction of Complications:
Diabetic dogs are prone to complications, including urinary tract infections, cataracts, and neuropathy. Vetsulin’s capacity to maintain stable blood sugar levels can significantly reduce the risk of these secondary health issues, enhancing the overall quality of life for the canine patient.
4. Control of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA):
As mentioned earlier, Vetsulin plays a crucial role in preventing and managing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition that can arise in uncontrolled diabetes. Its timely administration can be a lifesaver for dogs at risk of DKA.
How Vetsulin Can Improve Dogs’ Quality of Life
Beyond its clinical effectiveness, Vetsulin can have a profound impact on a diabetic dog’s quality of life:
1. Improved Energy Levels:
Stable blood sugar levels achieved with Vetsulin can translate into increased energy and vitality for diabetic dogs. This improvement can be seen in their willingness to engage in physical activities and play, enhancing their overall happiness.
2. Enhanced Appetite Control:
Vetsulin helps regulate the dog’s appetite, curbing excessive hunger and excessive food consumption often associated with diabetes. This balance not only contributes to better blood sugar control but also prevents unwanted weight gain.
3. Better Weight Management:
Obesity is a common concern in diabetic dogs. Vetsulin, when used in conjunction with an appropriate diet and exercise plan, can support weight management, reducing the risk of obesity-related complications.
4. Reduced Stress and Discomfort:
The alleviation of diabetic symptoms and complications through Vetsulin can significantly reduce the stress and discomfort experienced by affected dogs. This contributes to a happier and more comfortable life.
5. Extended Lifespan:
Properly managed diabetes can extend the lifespan of dogs, allowing them to enjoy more years with their loving families. Vetsulin’s role in controlling the condition is instrumental in achieving this.
In summary, the benefits of Vetsulin for dogs extend far beyond the clinical realm. This medication not only effectively manages diabetes but also brings about a marked improvement in the overall well-being and quality of life for canine patients.
In the next section, we’ll delve into the critical aspects of administering Vetsulin to dogs, including dosage guidelines, injection techniques, and the importance of regular monitoring. Understanding these practical aspects is essential for ensuring the successful treatment of diabetic dogs.
IV. Administering Vetsulin to Dogs
Now that we’ve explored the fundamental aspects of Vetsulin and its benefits, it’s crucial to delve into the practicalities of administering this medication to your canine companion. In this section, we will cover essential topics related to the administration of Vetsulin, including dosage guidelines, frequency of administration, directions for use, and the critical importance of adhering to prescribed dosages.
Dosage Guidelines: Determining the Right Dosage
The correct dosage of Vetsulin for your dog depends on various factors, including their size, weight, and the severity of their diabetes. Dosage is typically measured in units of insulin and is administered as subcutaneous injections. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the right dosage for your dog:
- Consult Your Veterinarian: The first and most crucial step is to consult your veterinarian. They will perform tests and assess your dog’s condition to prescribe the appropriate dosage. Never start or adjust Vetsulin treatment without your veterinarian’s guidance.
- Weight-Based Dosage: In many cases, the initial dosage is based on your dog’s weight. Typically, the starting dose ranges from 0.2 to 0.7 units of Vetsulin per pound of body weight, given twice daily. However, individual variations exist, so follow your vet’s recommendations closely.
- Adjustments Over Time: The prescribed dosage may need adjustments over time based on your dog’s response to treatment. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels and consultation with your veterinarian are essential for making these adjustments.
Frequency of Administration: Daily, Weekly, or as Needed
Vetsulin is most commonly administered twice daily to maintain stable blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs. The goal is to mimic the natural insulin release seen in healthy dogs. However, there are some exceptions to this schedule:
- Veterinarian’s Guidance: Always follow your veterinarian’s specific instructions regarding the frequency of Vetsulin administration. They may recommend a different schedule based on your dog’s individual needs.
- Consistency Is Key: Whatever schedule your veterinarian recommends, it’s crucial to administer Vetsulin consistently at the same times each day to maintain steady blood sugar control.
Directions for Use: Tips for Administering Vetsulin to Dogs
Administering Vetsulin to your dog may seem daunting at first, but with practice and the right approach, it can become a routine part of your pet’s care. Here are some tips for effectively giving Vetsulin to your dog:
- Subcutaneous Injections: Vetsulin is administered via subcutaneous (under the skin) injections. Your veterinarian or a trained professional can demonstrate the proper technique for giving these injections.
- Rotate Injection Sites: To prevent discomfort or the formation of lumps, rotate the injection site with each dose. Common injection areas include the scruff of the neck and the sides of the abdomen.
- Relaxation and Positive Reinforcement: Make the injection process as stress-free as possible for your dog. Use treats, praise, and positive reinforcement to create a relaxed environment during and after the injection.
- Hiding in Treats or Mixing with Food: Some dogs may be more receptive to Vetsulin if it’s hidden in a treat or mixed with a small amount of their food. Consult your veterinarian to ensure that this method is appropriate for your dog’s specific needs.
- Accurate Measurement: Use insulin syringes with clear measurement markings to ensure accurate dosing. Double-check the dosage before every administration.
Importance of Adhering to Prescribed Dosages
Adhering to the prescribed dosages of Vetsulin is absolutely crucial for the successful management of your dog’s diabetes. Here’s why it’s essential:
Consistent Blood Sugar Control:
Consistency in administering Vetsulin helps maintain stable blood sugar levels in your dog. Fluctuations in blood glucose can lead to serious health complications, so sticking to the prescribed dosages is vital for your pet’s well-being.
Prevention of Hypoglycemia:
Giving too much insulin can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be life-threatening. By following your veterinarian’s instructions closely, you can prevent this dangerous condition.
Monitoring and Adjustments:
Regular adherence to the prescribed dosages enables your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s response to treatment accurately. Any necessary adjustments can be made promptly to ensure the best possible outcome.
Missed Dose Guideline
In the event that you accidentally miss a dose of Vetsulin, follow these guidelines:
- Consult Your Veterinarian: Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to inform them of the missed dose. They will provide guidance on whether to administer the missed dose or wait until the next scheduled dose.
- Don’t Double Dose: Never administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. This can lead to hypoglycemia or other complications.
- Maintain Schedule: Resume the regular dosing schedule as advised by your veterinarian. It’s important to maintain consistency.
V. Potential Side Effects and Precautions
As responsible pet owners and caregivers, it’s essential to be aware of both the benefits and potential risks associated with any medication, including Vetsulin. In this section, we will explore common side effects of Vetsulin in dogs, how to identify severe or adverse reactions, precautions for pregnant or lactating dogs, and potential interactions with other medications or supplements. This knowledge equips you with the information needed to ensure the safe and effective use of Vetsulin for your furry companion.
Common Side Effects of Vetsulin in Dogs
While Vetsulin is generally well-tolerated by most dogs, some may experience mild side effects, especially during the initial stages of treatment. It’s important to note that not all dogs will exhibit these side effects, and the severity and duration can vary. Common side effects of Vetsulin in dogs may include:
- Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): This is one of the most significant concerns. Signs of hypoglycemia may include weakness, shivering, trembling, confusion, and even seizures. If you observe any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to address them promptly.
VI. Consultation with a Veterinarian
When it comes to your dog’s health, including the administration of medications like Vetsulin, consulting with a veterinarian is not just a recommendation; it’s an absolute necessity. In this section, we emphasize the critical importance of professional guidance, discuss overdose information and possible toxicity, outline the signs or symptoms that warrant a call to the vet, and provide guidance on how to effectively discuss Vetsulin with your veterinarian, including seeking a second opinion if needed.
Emphasizing the Importance of Professional Guidance
The role of a qualified veterinarian in managing your dog’s health, especially in the
VII. Comparison with Similar Drugs in this Category
When it comes to managing diabetes in dogs, Vetsulin is just one of several medications available. In this section, we’ll compare the efficacy of Vetsulin with other drugs in its category, discuss the circumstances in which one alternative might be chosen over another, and consider the cost implications of these medications.
Comparing Efficacy of Drugs
Evaluating the efficacy of different drugs for diabetes management in dogs involves considering factors such as how well they regulate blood sugar levels and their overall impact on the dog’s health. Some of the medications commonly used for canine diabetes management include:
1. Vetsulin (Caninsulin):
Vetsulin, as we’ve explored in detail, is a specialized insulin medication designed for dogs with diabetes mellitus. It closely resembles canine insulin and is generally considered effective in regulating blood sugar levels when used as prescribed.
2. Lantus (Glargine):
Lantus is a type of insulin used in both humans and dogs. It’s known for its long duration of action, which can provide more stable blood sugar control. Some veterinarians may recommend Lantus for dogs that have difficulty achieving consistent results with other insulin types.
3. NPH Insulin (Neutral Protamine Hagedorn):
NPH insulin is another option for diabetes management in dogs. It has a shorter duration of action compared to Lantus, which may require more frequent injections. However, it can be a suitable choice for certain dogs depending on their individual needs.
4. Humulin N:
Humulin N is a human insulin product that has been used off-label for dogs. It’s important to note that while it can be effective, it may require careful monitoring and dose adjustments to achieve the desired blood sugar control.
The choice of insulin medication for a diabetic dog depends on various factors, including the dog’s response to treatment, the veterinarian’s recommendation, and the owner’s ability to administer the medication effectively.
Choosing the Right Alternative
The decision to use one insulin alternative over another is typically made by a veterinarian. Here are some considerations that may influence this decision:
1. Individual Dog’s Response:
Every dog is unique, and what works well for one may not work as effectively for another. Veterinarians may try different insulin types and adjust dosages based on the dog’s response.
2. Stability of Blood Sugar Levels:
Some insulin types, like Lantus, are known for providing more stable and consistent blood sugar control. They may be chosen for dogs that have had difficulty achieving stable levels with other insulins.
3. Ease of Administration:
The ease of administering the medication can be a significant factor. Some insulin types may require fewer injections throughout the day, which can be more convenient for owners.
4. Cost Considerations:
The cost of insulin can vary, and this may be a factor in the choice of medication. Veterinarians and owners often work together to find an option that is both effective and affordable.
Comparing the Cost ofthe Drug
The cost of insulin for dogs can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of insulin, the dosage required, and where it is purchased. Here are some general cost considerations:
- Vetsulin: Vetsulin, also known as Caninsulin, is one of the more commonly prescribed insulin options for dogs. Its cost can vary but is often in the mid-range compared to other options.
- Lantus: Lantus, while effective, tends to be more expensive than Vetsulin. Its longer duration of action may offset the higher cost for some dog owners.
- NPH Insulin: NPH insulin is generally more affordable than Lantus but may require more frequent injections.
- Humulin N: Humulin N can be a cost-effective option, but it may require close monitoring and dose adjustments.
It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian and potentially explore different pharmacies or suppliers to find the best price for your dog’s insulin. Additionally, some manufacturers offer assistance programs or rebates to help offset the cost of insulin for pet owners in need.
In conclusion, the choice of insulin medication for your diabetic dog should be made in consultation with your veterinarian, considering factors such as efficacy, the dog’s response, ease of administration, and cost. Regardless of the specific insulin chosen, the primary goal is to provide your beloved canine companion with the best possible care and quality of life while managing their diabetes.
VIII. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As dog owners, it’s natural to have questions and concerns when it comes to managing your pet’s health, especially when a medication like Vetsulin is involved. In this section, we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about Vetsulin for dogs, providing clear and concise answers to alleviate concerns and ensure that you have the information needed to provide the best care for your furry friend.
1. What is Vetsulin, and how does it work?
Vetsulin, also known as Caninsulin in some regions, is a specialized insulin medication formulated to treat diabetes mellitus in dogs. It works by mimicking the role of natural insulin in regulating blood sugar levels. Vetsulin primarily contains porcine insulin, derived from pigs, which closely resembles canine insulin. This similarity allows it to effectively lower blood sugar levels, preventing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and its associated symptoms.
2. What are the common side effects of Vetsulin in dogs?
Common side effects of Vetsulin in dogs may include:
- Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): Signs may include weakness, trembling, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
- Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar): Symptoms can include increased thirst, frequent urination, lethargy, and weight loss.
- Injection Site Reactions: Some dogs may experience mild irritation or discomfort at the injection site.
Remember that not all dogs will experience these side effects, and they can vary in severity. It’s essential to closely monitor your dog’s response to Vetsulin and consult your veterinarian if you have concerns.
3. How is the right dosage of Vetsulin determined for my dog?
The correct dosage of Vetsulin is determined by your veterinarian based on various factors, including your dog’s weight, overall health, and the severity of their diabetes. Dosage is typically measured in units of insulin and is administered as subcutaneous injections. It’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for a personalized dosage recommendation and follow their guidance closely.
4. Can Vetsulin be used for cats with diabetes?
Vetsulin is specifically formulated for use in dogs and should not be used in cats. Cats have unique insulin requirements, and different insulin products are available for feline diabetes management. If you have a diabetic cat, consult your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
5. How do I administer Vetsulin to my dog, and where should I inject it?
Vetsulin is administered via subcutaneous (under the skin) injections. Your veterinarian or a trained professional can demonstrate the proper injection technique. Common injection areas include the scruff of the neck and the sides of the abdomen. It’s essential to rotate injection sites to prevent discomfort or the formation of lumps.
6. What should I do if I accidentally miss a dose of Vetsulin?
If you accidentally miss a dose of Vetsulin, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will provide guidance on whether to administer the missed dose or wait until the next scheduled dose. Never administer a double dose to make up for a missed one, as this can lead to hypoglycemia or other complications.
7. Can Vetsulin be used in pregnant or lactating dogs?
The use of Vetsulin in pregnant or lactating dogs should be discussed with your veterinarian. They will consider the potential risks and benefits and make recommendations based on your dog’s specific situation. It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions regarding medication during pregnancy or lactation.
8. Are there any interactions between Vetsulin and other medications or supplements?
Vetsulin may interact with certain medications or supplements. It’s essential to inform your veterinarian of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, that your dog is taking. They can assess potential interactions and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. Do not make changes to your dog’s medication regimen without consulting your veterinarian.
9. Can I switch my dog from one insulin type to another, such as from Vetsulin to Lantus?
Switching from one insulin type to another should be done under the guidance of your veterinarian. They will assess your dog’s specific needs and response to treatment and make recommendations for any necessary transitions. Switching insulin types without professional guidance can lead to complications, so it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian first.
10. How can I ensure the best care for my diabetic dog?
Ensuring the best care for your diabetic dog involves several key steps:
- Consult your veterinarian regularly for check-ups and adjustments to the treatment plan.
- Adhere to the prescribed dosages and injection schedule.
- Monitor your dog’s blood sugar levels as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Watch for signs of hypo- or hyperglycemia and seek prompt veterinary care if needed.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen tailored to your dog’s needs.
IX. References and Additional Resources
In your quest to provide the best care for your diabetic dog using Vetsulin, it’s essential to have access to reputable sources of information and professional guidance. Here are two links to veterinary associations and websites where you can find valuable resources, as well as contact information for veterinary professionals who can assist you in managing your dog’s diabetes.
Veterinary Associations and Websites
- American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
The AVMA is a trusted resource for pet owners and provides awealth of information on various pet health topics, including diabetes in dogs. You can find articles, guidelines, and tools to help you better understand and manage your dog’s condition.
- The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
AAHA is a renowned organization dedicated to promoting excellence in veterinary care. Their website offers valuable insights into pet health and wellness, including resources on diabetes management in dogs.
Contact Information for Veterinary Professionals
While online resources are valuable, there’s no substitute for professional guidance from veterinarians and veterinary specialists who can provide personalized care for your diabetic dog. Here’s how to get in touch with veterinary professionals:
- Your Local Veterinarian:
Contact your regular veterinarian for day-to-day guidance on your dog’s diabetes management. They are your primary source of support and can answer specific questions about your pet’s condition.
- Veterinary Endocrinologists:
If your dog’s diabetes is challenging to manage or requires specialized care, consider consulting a veterinary endocrinologist. These specialists have expertise in hormone-related conditions, including diabetes.
- Emergency Veterinary Clinics: In case of emergencies or urgent concerns related to your dog’s diabetes, have the contact information for emergency veterinary clinics readily available. These facilities are equipped to handle critical situations 24/7.
- Local Veterinary Associations:
Check your local veterinary association’s website for a directory of veterinary professionals in your area. They can provide recommendations and contact information for veterinarians and specialists near you.
Remember that your dog’s health and well-being are the top priorities, and seeking professional guidance is essential for managing diabetes effectively. Veterinarians and specialists can provide individualized treatment plans, monitor your dog’s progress, and address any concerns you may have.
In addition to the resources mentioned above, always feel free to reach out to your veterinarian for contact information and recommendations specific to your location and your dog’s unique needs.
By utilizing these reputable resources and establishing connections with veterinary professionals, you’ll be well-equipped to provide the best possible care for your diabetic dog and ensure their continued health and happiness.
Dr. Rachel Davis is a passionate veterinarian, having completed her studies in veterinary medicine at the University of California. Alongside her professional commitments, she remains dedicated to her beloved dog and has a profound love for all animals. In her spare time, she indulges in her passion for writing, often focusing on topics related to veterinary care and animal welfare.