Natural Medicine for CatsAugust 23, 2012 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Natural medicine isn’t the exclusive domain of two legged creatures. Cats, dogs, horses and virtually every other domesticated animal can likewise be assisted by the judicious application of holistic principles. What’s more, over the past few decades, researchers in the field of veterinary care have been devoting more and more money and time to this very topic. In particular, an emphasis has been placed on evaluating the role of dietary components in relation to inflammatory conditions that frequently affect older felines.
Degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis tops the list of “wear and tear” diseases in both animals and humans alike. A just published study in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition reports that supplementing the diets of aging cats with concentrated fish oil significantly improves osteoarthritic symptoms such as low activity levels, poor mobility and stiffness. The dosage used in the research was 1.53 grams of EPA and .31 grams of DHA, the two primary fatty acids found in fish oil, for every 1000 calories consumed. Previous research that investigated the effects of a cat food fortified with fish oil and various other nutraceuticals (chondroitin, glucosamine and green-lipped mussel extract) also revealed a decline in arthritis related disease activity.
The promise of omega-3 fatty acids in combating inflammation extends far beyond the aches and pains associated with arthritis. Recent studies indicate that fish oil and, to a lesser extent, flax seed oil may be useful in modulating an overactive immune system – the underlying cause of a variety of autoimmune diseases. Asthma and miliary dermatitis, an allergic skin disease caused by flea bites, also appear to be responsive to fish oil therapy. Combining fish oil with evening primrose oil, a source of a rare fatty acid known as GLA or gamma linolenic acid, may provide additional benefits for cats with dermatological concerns.
Many of the health promoting properties fish oil imparts in humans extend to feline companions. For instance, a study appearing in the September 2011 issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Research found that cats with higher serum levels of EPA were less likely to exhibit risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease. However, there are a few precautions that cat owners ought to be aware of prior to the indiscriminate use of fish oil. For one thing, when large amounts of omega-3 fats are present in a cat’s diet, a higher amount of Vitamin E is required. It’s also important to note that fish oil can influence bleeding time under certain circumstances. Therefore, as a precaution, your veterinarian should be made aware if you decide to use a cat food or supplements containing therapeutic levels of DHA, EPA or flax seed oil.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – The Effect of Dietary Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation … (link)
Study 2 –Evaluation of a Therapeutic Diet for Feline Degenerative Joint Disease … (link)
Study 3 – Dietary Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil Suppress Inflammation and Immunity … (link)
Study 4 – The Effect of the Addition of Oil Preparation with Increased Content of … (link)
Study 5 – Effect of Varying Proportions of Evening Primrose Oil and Fish Oil on … (link)
Study 6 – Prophylactic Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and … (link)
Study 7 – Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Serum Concentrations of Adipokines in … (link)
Study 8 – Vitamin E Requirement of Adult Cats Increases Slightly with High Dietary … (link)
Study 9 – Manipulation of Dietary (n-6) and (n-3) Fatty Acids Alters Platelet … (link)
Study 10 – The Effects of N-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Bleeding Time … (link)
Fish Oil Intake Affects Vitamin E Requirements
Source: J Nutr. 2002 Jun; 132 (6 Suppl 2) :1613S-5S. (link)
Tags: Allergies, Arthritis, Fish Oil
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements