Advances in pet nutrition, many pioneered at WALTHAM, enable our scientists to precisely pinpoint the optimal nutrient combinations that allow pets to thrive. This knowledge underpins all Mars Petcare products, offering complete, balanced and sustainable nutrition to millions of animals across the world.
All animals, including people, are home to as many bacteria as there are cells in the body. Only recently have scientists begun to understand the vital role these organisms play in health and disease. We are working to understand how these bacteria influence the development and wellbeing of cats and dogs, and develop nutritional solutions to support this vital relationship.
Wouldn’t it be great if something as simple as a blood, saliva or urine sample could predict the likelihood of your pet developing a disease in the future? Or flagging a developing health problem, currently so small that it wouldn’t be detected with a veterinary examination? Biomarkers are indirect measures that are associated with a particular condition or trait. Our scientists are conducting trials and combing through vast databases to hunt out these small but mighty measures. These subtle changes that flag differences in a pet’s physiology, biochemistry, genetics or microbiome underpin new diagnostic approaches to help keep pets healthy.
Working with Wisdom Health, the makers of the WISDOM PANEL™ DNA test products and a world leader in home-based pet genetic testing, WALTHAM is exploring the links between genes and health in cats and dogs. We are also using genetic analysis to better understand the impact of the gut and oral microbiome on pets’ health. We can ask questions such as ‘which bacteria support health and which are associated with disease?’ and use these insights to develop new diagnostics and dietary interventions.
Through increased computing power and access to millions of digital records, we can use data in ways not previously possible. With expertise in statistics, machine learning and bioinformatics, we are harnessing the power of big data to deliver new insights into pet genetics, health and wellbeing. This is exemplified through our partnership with Banfield® Pet Hospitals, resulting in scientific publications that describe growth curves for puppies and show that obesity reduces lifespan in dogs.
At Mars Petcare, we strive to produce the best tasting products formulated with the latest sensory science. Through sophisticated analytical capabilities developed at WALTHAM, and with academic partners around the world, our scientists are able to accurately identify the natural food ingredients that cats and dogs love. We then work to ensure these flavours are retained in our manufactured products like WHISKAS® cat food.
There is growing evidence that pets are good for us. Dogs, for instance, have been successfully introduced into hospitals, schools and prisons to promote wellbeing. Some studies have shown that owning a pet helps foster community bonds, making our towns and cities safer and friendlier. Our research collaborations in this field explore the social and physiological effects of this complex bond.
WALTHAM strives to provide the highest possible welfare standards for the animals in its care. To do this, we continuously seek to improve our pets’ training programmes, recreational plans and facilities. We partner with developers of cutting-edge-technology, like WHISTLE™ activity monitors, to understand more aspects of our pets’ behaviour. Our unique focus on animal behaviour spans all our research, enabling us to partner with our pets for research through our caring science approach.
WALTHAM researches the nutrient and energy requirements for dogs at all life stages. We also explore the links between nutrition, immune function and gastrointestinal health.
The role dogs can play in improving educational outcomes, mental and physical therapy and in promoting more habitable urban environments are explored as part of our human-animal interaction research portfolio.
From kittens to senior cats, WALTHAM researches optimal feline nutrient and energy requirements. We also explore the links between nutrition, immune function and gastrointestinal health. The role cats can play in improving educational outcomes, in therapy situations and in combatting social isolation are studied as part of our human-animal interaction research portfolio.
The WALTHAM Equine Studies Group works with international collaborators to investigate the role of nutrition in the health, welfare, behaviour and performance of horses.
Specific research areas include the causes and management of the debilitating condition Laminitis, which manifests in the hoof, and the increasing problem of horse and pony obesity. As the proportion of aged horses within the general equine population appears to be rising, there is particular interest in determining the best ways to feed and manage them in many countries. We are, therefore, also focusing on this senior demographic and their particular needs.
The WALTHAM Aquacentre explores sustainable solutions to ornamental fish nutrition and husbandry. Our research focuses on easy care options for fish health and welfare through optimal water quality and nutrition, and also investigates the viability of alternative protein and oil sources, such as microalgae in fish food.