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Using Omega Fatty Acids to Benefit the Joint Health of Your Pet

Photo of Cardiff Checks Out Some Fish That Could Provide His Daily Dose of Oil Cardiff Checks Out Some Fish That Could Provide His Daily Dose of Oil This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney's FlexPet Blog as Fight Inflammation Without Harmful Side Effects. FlexPet safely promotes canine and feline joint health as an essential part of a multi-modal pain management plan. This means that pet owners can strive to keep our animal companions comfortable and mobile while taking fewer medications. If we rely exclusively upon veterinary prescription medications, we put our pets at risk of suffering severe and potentially life threatening side effects. Using multiple methods of providing pain relief (medications, nutraceuticals, weight management, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, massage, etc.) under the guidance of a veterinarian permits our pets’ bodies to be healthier so less prescription medication is needed. Nutraceuticals, like FlexPet, are a great means of safely promoting improved joint function and reducing inflammation. A nutraceutical is a “food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefit”. FlexPet is a chondroprotectant nutraceutical, meaning it contains ingredients that are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid, which keep joints protected during weight bearing activities (walking, hiking, etc). Along with FlexPet, which has several ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, for an extra boost I recommend my patients take a daily dose of omega fatty acids. As both dogs and cats are meat eaters, animal based omega fatty acids fulfill their requirements more efficiently than plant sources, which is why fish oil is my preferred omega fatty acid source. Three types of omega fatty acids (3, 6, and 9) are contained in fish oil. Omega 3 and 9 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, while 6 is considered pro-inflammatory. Omega 6 fatty acids are still needed to promote healthy membranes surrounding nerves, so do not eliminate them from your pet’s diet. When providing an omega fatty acid supplement for your pet, focus on the omega 3s. Aside from your pet’s joints, the skin, coat, nerves, heart, blood vessels and other body systems benefit from omega fatty acid supplementation. When reading a fish oil label, look for the total milligrams (mg) of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which are common forms of omega 3 fatty acids. EPA is considered to be most important in reducing inflammation, while DHA is an important structural component of the brain and retina (light receiving portion of the eye). To achieve an anti-inflammatory effect on your pet’s joints, provide a dose of omega 3 (EPA and DHA combination) fatty acids in the approximate amount of 16 mg/lb (180mg/5kg) every 24 hours (once daily). For example, a 10 lb dog should take 160mg EPA/DHA per day. Many suitable omega supplement options are available through veterinarians, pharmacies, markets, and pet stores. Choose a fish oil that appears clear, has minimal odor, lacks flavoring, and is guaranteed to be free of heavy metals. Thank you for reading my article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond). Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook. Copyright of this article (2012) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.
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