Studies Reveal Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Dogs with Osteoarthritis

Monday, March 29, 2010 by: Katherine East
Tags: omega-3's, dogs, health news

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(NaturalNews) Osteoarthritis is a painful degenerative joint disease that affects many canines, especially geriatric dogs. Studies published in the January 2010 and March 2010 issues of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), report the possible benefits of feeding foods high in omega-3 fatty acid concentrations to dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs that were fed the foods experienced less pain associated with the disease and greater mobility.

A contributing author and director of research at a leading pet food company said: "Many of us write off mobility problems in dogs as a part of the aging process. These studies demonstrate that feeding a food containing omega-3 fatty acids to a dog with osteoarthritis significantly improves mobility and quality of life. All three studies showed significant mobility improvement as assessed by either pet owners, veterinarians, or both."

274 dogs with osteoarthritis took part in clinical studies at a number of privately owned veterinary clinics and two university veterinary clinics.
The three areas of focus were:
1. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on clinical signs of osteoarthritis in dogs.
2. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on weight bearing in dogs with the disease.
3. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) dosage in dogs with osteoarthritis.

In the first study, dogs with chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis showed improvements in their ability to play and get up from rest at six weeks after being switched to a diet containing high concentrations of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. The second study showed that limb strength in dogs improved with omega-3 dietary intervention.

In the third study, veterinarians were able to reduce the dosage of a common NSAID used for pain relief in dogs with osteoarthritis. This was possible while still maintaining pain relief in dogs that were fed food supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the progressive inflammation and deterioration of the cartilage, bone, and soft tissue of one or more joints. It is often mistaken in its early stages as "slowing down" due to old age. Canine osteoarthritis can be a silent and unrecognised problem that affects both the pet`s and the owner`s quality of life.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to increase joint mobility and control pain in severe cases. The down side is that long-term use can result in side-effects such as kidney damage, ulcers, etc.

The relevance of the findings in this study is important because complications that may arise from pain relief medications could be reduced when the medications are used in combination with proper nutrition.

Other Health Benefits Of Omega 3 Oils For Dogs

  • Omega 3 oil is very effective in controlling allergies and skin disease.
  • Maintain mental alertness in older dogs
  • Maintain a healthy, shiny coat.
  • Controls the growth of Malassezia pachydermatis which causes yeast infections in both cats and dogs.

Other natural treatments that can help control the progression of osteoarthritis are:

  • Weight control - excess weight can cause additional pain and increased damage to dogs` joints.
  • Regular gentle exercise - Improves strength and mobility of joints
  • Hydrotherapy - some dogs are very fond of swimming; this is a low impact exercise that promotes joint movement without aggravating joint pain.
  • Nutritional supplements - some are specifically designed to reduce pain and inflammation as well as for prevention and treatment of disease.



3. Reader`s Digest. The healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals and Herbs

About the author

Katherine Oosthuis is completing a Diploma in Nutritional Therapy. She researches and writes for a health and nutrition website Detox For Life . Her passion is to make research available to those who are looking to improve their well-being and revolutionise their health through better nutrition and alternative medicines.

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