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Fish Oil For dogs

Good Article about benefits of fish oil for pets

Getting the Fat on Fatty  Acids

 

by Shawn Messonnier,  DVM

 

Fatty acids are among the  most commonly used nutritional supplements used in treating dogs and cats.  Fortunately, they have been used successfully long enough that most conventional  veterinarians include their usage in the treatment of at least some diseases.  This article will discuss our current knowledge of fatty acids and present some  new ideas for their usage in treating our pets.

 

Medicinal fatty acids are  divided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In general, omega-6 fatty acids  tend to promote inflammation, whereas omega-3 fatty acids act to reduce  inflammation. As such, omega-3 fatty acids are used in diseases in which  anti-inflammatory activity is needed. The fatty acids can substitute for  medications such as corticosteroids in the treatment of inflammation.

 

The most commonly used  supplements that provide fatty acids are fish oil and flax seed oil. While flax  seed oil contains more omega-3’s than fish oil, the omega-3’s found in flax seed  oil are in an inactive form. The omega-3’s found in fish oil are in an active  form. In research studies, fish oil has shown positive benefits in helping  people and pets with disease, whereas flax seed oil has not been as beneficial.  For this reason, fish oil is generally recommended as the omega-3 fatty acid  supplement of choice.

 

The active omega-3’s,  (eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) are derived from  fish oils of coldwater fish (salmon, trout, or most commonly menhaden fish.)  Also called linseed oil, flaxseed oil is derived from the seeds of the flax  plant and has been proposed as a less smelly alternative to fish oil. Flaxseed  oil contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA,) an omega-3 fatty acid that is  ultimately converted to EPA and DHA. In fact, flax seed oil contains higher  levels of omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) than fish oil. It also contains  omega-6 fatty acids.

 

Similar to the situation  with fish oil, pets with inflammatory diseases may respond to supplementation  with flax seed oil. However, many species of pets (probably including dogs and  cats) and some people cannot efficiently convert ALA to the more active  non-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA.) In one study in people, flax  seed oil was ineffective in reducing symptoms or raising levels of EPA and DHA.  In pets with kidney disease, flax seed oil was not as effective as fish oil.  While flaxseed oil has been suggested as a substitute for fish oil, there is no  evidence that it is effective when used for the same therapeutic purposes as  fish oil. Unlike the case for fish oil, there is little evidence that flax seed  oil is effective for any specific therapeutic purpose with the following  exceptions. Flax seed oil can improve the coat and skin of pets. Also, the  lignans contained in flax seed oil may have anti-cancer benefits.

 

Fish oil supplementation  may be helpful for pets with inflammatory diseases including allergies,  arthritis, kidney disease, heart disease, and cancers. People with diabetes may  have fatty acid derangement and require supplementation; this may also be true  in pets. Fish oil has demonstrated benefits in people and pets with allergies,  kidney disease, and heart disease. It has also shown benefits as an  anti-depressant in people with mild depression. Fish oil appears to have  benefits in pets with arthritis as well. Pets with any type of inflammatory  disease may benefit from fish oil supplementation. In general, more severe  disease requires doses higher than those commonly recommended and often  additional supplements are necessary as fish oil is not often useful as the only  supplement.

 

Fish oil is very  effective in some pets with allergic skin disease. It is easy to administer (via  gel caps or liquid) and can reduce the amount of corticosteroid or antihistamine  needed to control itching. The response is variable in other diseases (such as  kidney disease) but fish oil appears effective in research studies. In pets with  some types of cancer, fish oil has slowed down the growth and spread of the  cancer. While more studies are needed on other types of cancer, the general  recommendation is to add fish oil to the diets of all pets with  cancer.

 

In my opinion, any pet  may benefit from fatty acid supplementation. While we don’t always have hard  “proof” that they work in every case, the science is there to show how they work  and suggest their usage any time inflammation may be a problem. In most pets in  my practice, fatty acid supplementation forms the “baseline” of supplements that  I use, adding other supplements as dictated by clinical response or the nature  of the disease.

 

While there is concern  about the contamination of fish meat with environmental contaminants such as  mercury, this concern does not apply to fish oil. Supplementation with fish oil  can result in decreased levels of vitamin E; therefore, fish oil supplements  have extra vitamin E added to them.

 

A is true with many  supplements, your veterinarian may have favorite supplements that he will sell  you or recommend to you. Pet owners are cautioned against buying supplements  without knowledge of the manufacturer, as supplements are not highly regulated  and some supplements may not contain the labeled amount of fish oil.

 

Safety

 

Fish oil supplementation  is very safe. The most common side effect seen in people and pets is a fish odor  to the breath or the skin. Because fish oil has a mild “blood-thinning” effect,  it should not be combined with powerful blood-thinning medications, such as  Coumadin (warfarin) or heparin, except on a veterinarian’s advice. Fish oil does  not seem to cause bleeding problems when it is taken by itself at commonly  recommended dosages. In people, high doses of fish oil (4 grams or more each  day) when combined with ginkgo biloba has caused serious bleeding problems. Fish  oil does not appear to raise blood sugar levels in people or pets with diabetes  despite earlier concerns about this. Flax oil does not appear to cause “blood  thinning.” In my practice, I’ve never seen any side effects and I use a lot of  fatty acids. Very rarely, I have had a few of my canine patients smell fishy.  This side effect goes away as the dosage is lowered. While many owners worry  about giving extra “fat” to their pets, especially in cases where the pet is  overweight, take comfort. Fatty acid supplements contain only a handful of  calories and supplementation is unlikely to hurt any pet on a diet.

 

Tip

 

In studies done in people  and pets, dosages much higher than label doses are needed to achieve results. As  a rule, I try to start with 2-4 times the label dose when treating diseases and  adjust the dose depending upon the pet’s response. I use the label dose when  recommending fatty acids as a coat or skin supplement.

 

Conclusion

 

Fatty acid therapy is  becoming a part of our mainstream therapy for many pet disorders, In general,  fish oil is preferred to flax oil as it contains the more active omega-3’s. To  get the best results, dosages higher than those on the label are needed and in  most cases, fish oil should be combined with other supplements for maximum  effectiveness.

How to Take Care Of A Stray/ Orphan Kitten

I am taking care of stray kittens righgt now and it is a job I must say. I have never taken care of a kitten or cat before. In doing my research I learned alot by reading an article from homeatlastrescue.org.

Finding stray kittensFinding feral, “stray”, kittens can be exciting, but there are many things that you will need to know about trapping and caring for your found kittens. When you first sight kittens in your backyard, step back for a moment and make sure Mom is not still around and just hiding from you. If you see the Mom cat nearby, DO NOT DISTURB THE KITTENS and let Mom take care of them herself. It is especially crucial for newborn kittens to receive the nutrion fromMom’s milk during the first couple of days of their lives. Many kittens will not survive if separated from Mom during the first week of their life. Put some food and water out for Mom, so she can devote herself to her babies. Contact your local Humane Society or a Feral Cat Rescue Group for help and information on how to trap a feral cat family. Remember – Mom and her babies need to be spay/ neuteredto avoid creating a new feral cat colony in your neighborhood. Home at Last provides more information about feral cats and what to do with them.
Follow the guidelines below if your kitten’s Mom is not around.
Determine the age of the kittento see if he or she needs to be bottle-fed or can start immediately on soft food:

  • Eyes closed, ears folded over – kitten is 1 – 14 days old
  • Eyes are open, kitten moves around but is wobbly – 2 – 3 weeks old
  • Eyes are open, ears up, can walk around – 3 – 4 weeks old
  • Running around and is difficult or impossible to catch – 4 – 8 weeks old or older.
  • 1 – 3 weeks old – will need to be bottle-fed.
  • 3 weeks and older – can be offered soft food, but may need to be bottle-fed.
If the kitten is cold,warm her slowly by holding her against your bare skin, which will allow her to absorb your body’s heat (if you are outside, your armpit makes a great incubator). Cold is the greatest danger to kittens. DO NOT submerge the kitten in water or use any method that will warm her temperature too quickly. Because she is not able to generate her own heat, wrapping the kitten in a blanket or towel is not sufficient. The kitten must get her heat from you. DO NOT feed a cold kitten. Wait until her body heat is approximately 90+ degrees Fahrenheit. See section below regarding feeding instructions.
Make a kitten box.Put a heating pad in a box big enough to accommodate the heating pad and an area that is not covered by the heating pad. Kittens will crawl toward the heat when they are cold and away from the heat when they are warm. If they do not have an area where they can get away from the heat, they can become dehydrated and die. Turn the heating pad on LOW and cover it with a towel. Never let the kitten lie directly on the pad. Place the box in a warm and draft-free area.Do not bathe the kitten unless absolutely necessary. If the kitten appears to need a bath, her body temperature must be normal, 90+ degrees Fahrenheit. Flea combing is best if the kitten has fleas. (If the kitten must be bathed, use small amount of Lemon Joy. The citrus kills fleas and is safe for kittens. Flea shampoos are too harsh for kittens.) After towel drying the kitten as much as possible return the kitten to the heating pad. NEVER use a hair dryer.
Supplies you will need for neonatal kittens:

  • Heating pad
  • Kitten Milk formula or replacement
  • Hot water bottle (must be wrapped in towel)
  • Feeding bottle and several nipples
  • Eye dropper or syringe (without needle)
  • Several bath towels for bedding and cleaning kittens
  • Scale for weighing kittens (optional)
  • Rectal thermometer (kittens normal temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Have Emergency Vet Clinic number handy.(Ask if they have experience with orphaned kittens)
Feeding Instructions
KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) or Just Born are the best formulas to feed a neonatal kitten. Do not give a kitten cow’s milk,except in an emergency. If you cannot obtain KMR immediately, use the following emergency recipe for up to 24 hours only. In an emergency, call, a veterinarian, or check a local pet store for kitten formulas. Visit www.1888PETS911.org for humane societies in your area.
Emergency Recipe

  • 2/3 cup homogenized whole milk
  • 3 raw egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 1 dropper pediatric liquid vitamins

Warm the formula in a nursing bottle or medicine dropper by placing the bottle or dropper into a cup or bowl of hot water. Test the formula on the underside of your wrist to check the temperature. If it feels too warm or too cold on your wrist, it will feel the same for the kitten. If the formula is too hot, wait until the formula cools down. If the formula is too cold, continue soaking the bottle or dropper in hot water. Always be sure to test the formula again before giving it to the kitten.
Place the kitten on her stomach at a 45-degree angle (just as a kitten would nurse from the mother) and let her nurse until she turns her head. Do not hold the kitten’s head back, and do not hold her on her back as you would a human baby, because the kitten could aspirate formula into her lungs. Avoid getting air into the kitten’s tummy by holding the bottle at an angle to keep liquid toward the nipple. Pulling back slightly on the bottle will help trigger the kitten’s sucking reflex. Never squeeze the bottle to force milk to come out. Do not panic if the kitten does not eat the first day. She may be more accustomed to her mothers’ milk, which is quite rich, and can sustain her for a longer time than replacement formulas. (If she is still not eating after 24 hours, seek veterinary assistance immediately. She may need to be force fed through a tube. Never attempt tube feeding yourself if you are unfamiliar with this procedure. If done improperly, esophageal or stomach damage, and even death can result.) Important:After the kitten’s stomach is full, it is necessary to stimulate her to help her eliminate. A kitten does not have the ability to do this until they are three weeks old. Stimulate by taking a wet, lukewarm, but not hot, washcloth or paper towel and gently massage the anal region in a small circular or back-and-forth motion. You may want to hold kitten over a towel or sink while stimulating her.

Feeding Schedule This is a general guideline. A kitten will eat more often or less often, depending on the kitten. The label on the container of kitten formula you purchased should indicate the recommended amount to feed a kitten according to body weight. If a kitten cries, she is either cold or hungry. A contented kitten sleeps quietly.

Age in Weeks/Feedings per day

  • 1 week old – needs 6 feedings per day
  • 2 weeks old – needs 6 feedings per day
  • 3 weeks old – needs 4 feedings per day
  • 4 weeks old – needs 3 feedings per day

Never overfeed a kitten Some kittens will eat and eat as long as food is offered to them. Follow the instructions and guidelines on the container of kitten formula. When the kitten is three to four weeks old, you can begin weaning the kitten with baby food (GERBER Chicken, Turkey or Beef) or canned kitten food mixed with KMR.