SARx is a premium Timothy and Alfalfa hay-based recovery product. We say ‘hay-based’ because it contains far more hay than other brands that reduce the amount of hay in their formulas by adding lower cost by-products as fillers such as soybean hulls and beet pulp.
We use a special blend of whole oil seeds (Flax and Safflower) to provide energy and essential fatty acids (a balance of omega 3’s and 6’s). Small herbivores are far more efficient at using oil as an energy source than carbohydrates (found in grain). Small herbivores actually receive about 30% of their basal energy from volatile fatty acids produced from fermentation of fiber in their ceacum. Ironically even the carbohydrates that they eat (if you feed them grain) are not digested very efficiently so that much of it ends up in the ceacum and are fermented by bacteria. Too many carbohydrates causes digestive problems.
A hay-based formula fortified with whole oil seeds helps us to minimize added dietary carbohydrates (beyond the small amount naturally present in hay). This approach totally avoids loading the ceacum with excess carbohydrates that would otherwise stimulate the growth of bad bacteria and cause unbalanced ceacal fermentation patterns. As a result your pet will maintain a healthy digestive system and optimal B-vitamin production thereby supporting a healthy appetite and energy levels.
SARx contains about 3x the papaya found in other brands. Furthermore we also add additional protein diegestive enzymes that originate from papaya (papain) and pineapple (bromelain). This helps minimize the ceacal nitrogen load and improve digestion.
Only the SARx PLUS formula’s contain a small amount of whole millet. It provides just enough of a boost to feed the healthy bacteria that are already present in the ceacum and aids in fiber fermentation. Too many carbohydrates will allow bad bacteria to outgrow the good bacteria. However, the incorporation level is 3x lower than the threshold where this begins to happen.
Our custom blend of vitamins & minerals are specially formulated to help small herbivores maintain their energy levels and appetite until proper fermentation patterns can be re-established. For reasons outlined here we do not add synthetic vitamin A or D3. As a result you can feed this recovery food for as long as you like or need to without causing any vitamin toxicity or mineral balance problems.
Guar Gum is added to help the formula easily flow through a syringe. It is actually a seed from a tree.
SARx formulas are uniquely formulated for each species. Furthermore two formulations are available depending upon their need. For more details click here.
Soy is typically added as the main source of protein in the food. However, small herbivores do not use the protein in soy very efficiently and as a result they end up urinating it out in the form of urea. This causes the litter box to smell like ammonia and it also raises the pH of the urine increasing the chance for urinary sludge and stones.
Small herbivores are evolutionarily adapted to consuming a blend of grasses and legumes (like clover or alfalfa) and are far more efficient at using their protein.
Timothy hay meal is timothy hay that has been ground up, pelleted, and then re-ground again. Pet food manufactures call it ‘grinder hay’ which is the lower quality hay than the premium hay that is sold in the small bags at pet stores. This hay is also stored in large quantities after it is ground. It is better to store the hay in bales or, better yet, in pellets because it excludes the oxygen that reduces the nutritional value of the hay.
Soybean hulls are a very inexpensive by-product of soybean processing. They have very little nutritional value but are high in fiber. However, using timothy hay to add fiber is far better than using soybean hulls. Most formulations add slightly more timothy hay than soybean hulls so timothy hay can be the first ingredient on the label.
Soybean meal is used as the main source of protein. However the quality of the protein (bio-availablilty and balance of the essential amino acids) in soybean meal is much lower than the quality of protein found in the native diet of small herbivores (which is a blend of grasses and legumes). This leads to more protein waste and urea production that stresses the liver and the kidneys and increases urine pH thereby increasing the risk for urinary sludge and stones.
Wheat Middlings are a by-product of wheat processing. It is high in starch and protein (though it is very low quality protein). It is used as a source of energy. However small herbivores lack the capacity to digest most of the starch. As a result it ends up in the ceacum and promotes the growth of bad bacteria. Too much starch will cause bloat, G.I. stasis, and even diarrhea.
Beet pulp is a by-product of sugar beet processing. It contains a moderate amount of fiber (typically 15% to 16%) and around 8% sugar. There is nothing special about beet pulp in the small herbivore diet. Adding more grass hay is a better choice.
Wheat germ is a by-product of wheat processing. It is about 10% fat, 39% starch, and 23% protein. The protein in wheat is a very low quality for small herbivores that are more adapted to a forage based diet that is a blend of grasses and legumes. Also, too much starch in the diet greatly increases the risk for bloat and digestive troubles.
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide (multiple sugars linked together) produced by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris. It is a common food additive that is used as a thickener. Although research has not been done regarding small herbivore nutrition it is assumed that they lack the enzymes needed to digest it. As a result it will end up in the ceacum where other bacteria will ferment it. It is essentially like adding more starch to the diet.
Molasses is a high-sugar food by-product that is used as a sweetener. Essentially it makes the rest of the ingredients more appetizing because a ‘spoon-full of sugar helps the medicine go down’. However, too much starch or sugar will cause digestive problems.
Soybean oil is a highly refined vegetable oil that is chemically extracted and then super-heated to remove the chemicals used during extraction (hexanes). It lacks the natural levels of vitamin E normally found in vegetable oils and because of the extraction process it likely contains trans-fats.
Sodium bentonite is a clay binder that absorbs several times its weight in water. This is not a natural part of a small herbivores diet. Normally it is added as a binder in pelleted food.
Yeast culture is the leftover by-product of using quick yeast to ferment grain for making beer. It is still high in starch. Too much starch will contribute to digestive problems in small herbivores. Typically it is added because it contains higher levels of B-vitamins but to get an effective dose it would have to be added in a higher concentration and then the formula would then contain too much starch.
Some other brands add papaya because it is known to provide digestive enzymes. Specifically it contains papain which cleaves long-chains of protein into smaller fragments enabling other digestive enzymes to more quickly digest protein.
How much papaya do other brands add? Typically they add less than 1%. If you look at the list of ingredients you’ll see that papaya comes after vitamin C which is defined in the guaranteed analysis as 1%.
What is the quality of the papaya? Are they using ripe fruit or green that contains much more papain? How is the fruit prepared prior to being added to the formula and does it preserve the activity of the digestive enzyme?
Other brands typically buy a pre-mix of vitamins and minerals that are not species specific but instead are generic for all species. These pre-mixes are not good for small herbivores that have vastly different nutritional needs. In fact they often contain doses of synthetic vitamin A and D3 that are borderline toxic to small herbivores. Furthermore they contain lower-cost inorganic minerals such as Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous (iron) Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Sulfate, and Manganese Sulfate that speed the oxidation of the nutrients in the food. Using inorganic minerals also restricts the ability to provide the mineral concentrations/ratios needed for optimal health.
Adding probiotics (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, Enterococcus faecium which are meant for humans) is senseless. Most of these species don’t actually exist in the anaerobic digestive tract of small herbivores. Furthermore the correct species already exist in the digestive tract and the best way to help them flourish is to provide a proper diet – ie. remove the starch, grain, and soy and add hay. This is because the food you feed the digestive tract will determine the types of bacteria that grow. Adding more bacteria to an already imbalanced diet won’t help much especially if they are the incorrect species.