Saturday, December 11, 2010

Your pet's new best friend - Cod liver oil!

- Cod liver oil omega-3-fatty acid isolates have many health benefits in pets and people

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Hello everyone, this is Dr. Roger Welton, veterinarian, Veterinary News Network Reporter, and host of The Web-DVM.

You may have heard of Omega-3 fatty acids, or “fish oil” to promote human health and wellness. However did you know that such oils may be your pet’s best friend? – After you of course!

Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of beneficial oils that are critical to body function. They cannot be produced by the body and so we and our pets must get them in our diets. While most of the research on omega-3’s have been done in humans, dogs and cats are reaping the benefits.

Thousands of studies have proven the benefits of fish oil such as reducing triglycerides, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, helping diabetics, eye function and even recovery from neurological damage and reducing cancer risks. They are also a natural and potent anti-inflammatory and help with arthritis.

The evidence is so compelling that a pharmaceutical company has recently been promoting a prescription form of simple omega-3 fatty acids. Clearly omega-3’s are the “next big thing” in medicine and veterinary medicine.

Considering the help with arthritis alone our dogs and cats could benefit greatly and perhaps even reduce the amount of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS needed. It is also known to help hundreds of thousands of dogs with allergies that cause so much misery in itching and scratching.

Dr. Robin Downing of Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Windsor Colorado warns; “There is one problem. Supplements are NOT well regulated and quality can vary dramatically”. In fact, the supplement industry is full of infomercial style sales pitches and even more questionable quality. Just think of all the weight reducing ‘gimmicks’ and products you see on television, and believe it or not they are not strictly governed by FDA.

Over the counter fish oil products can not only vary drastically in quality but can also contain harmful contaminants.

Dr. Downing recommends you look for a fish oil supplement that meets or exceeds pharmaceutical standards and one that engages in sustainable fishing practices. Also she looks for data from an independent laboratory examining the purity of the product.

Concentration of the product is important and other content and balance issues are crucial in product selection. Your veterinarian should advise you on the product and dose for your pets.

We contacted a representative of Nordic Naturals, a leading maker of cod liver oil for many years, to understand key issues in the manufacturing of such a delicate product.

Nordic Naturals uses arctic cod and use the livers for extraction of the oil and there are many important steps in the preparation and filtering process to remove contaminants. Even though fish oil standards do not exist in the United States, Nordic Naturals goes beyond the international pharmaceutical standards to produce an effective and safe product for humans and pets.

Dr. Downing says she cannot believe the positive results she and her staff see in pets put on omega-3 supplementation – both in her general practice and in her pain management specialty.

There is enough evidence to make this a worthwhile part of your pets nutrition and preventive health. However you should only use products known by your veterinarian to be pure and properly handled and produced.

This is Dr. Roger Welton reporting, for The Web-DVM.

Don't forget to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesdays 9PM EST. Listen via podcast live or archived here:

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Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website


Leah said...

I believe it 100%! I attrubute omega-3-fatty acids with being the only thing that controls my irritable bowel. I tried eating glutein free, eliminating red meat, avoiding sugar, repeated antibiotics, and even steroids. The steroid finally worked, but the side effects were aweful. My chiropractor suggested I try omega-3s he sold out of his office, and within 3 days, I fellt better thn i had in years! I still have to watch what I eat, avoid spicy food and junk food, soda, alcohol, etc, but what a difference! It does not surprise me that this stuff works for pets as well.

pw1974 said...

Omega-3s are great, but from what I have read, it does not seem that the cod populations will hold up to this relatively new increaingly popular use of them. I understand avacodo and macadamia nuts, among other plant sources, are a fairly rich source of omega-3-fatty acids, plants that does not face extinction as cod face from being overfished. Wouldn't it make more sense to take omega-3s derived from avocado?

catgirl said...

One of my cats gets horribly flaky skin if he is not kept on Derm Caps, an omega 3 supplement I get from my vet. He also used to suffer from urinary tract problems all of the time. Since treating him with Derm Caps for the skin, his urinary troubles have all but vanished. From my own experience, all that I keep reading, and now hearing about it in this video, I am convinced this stuff is amazing!

Ed said...

Good points, What do you think, Doc, is omega-3 derrived from soy, avocado and other vegetable sources as good as that from fish?

Roger Welton, DVM said...

PW and Ed, in answer to your points, they are excellent, and the answer is honestly, I don't know. I am having a holistic veterinarian on my radio show Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011 episode who is an expert in health supplements, particularly omega-3s. I would suggest listening in, as we all stand to learn something that day. This concern will certainly be on my list of questions.

AB said...

Doc, in response to the michael vick piece on your radio show this week, my response to him wanting to adopt a dog, my answer is NO @#$! WAY!!! Would you allow a convisted pediphile the right to adopt a child just because he did his time??? That creep should not even be allowed to have a goldfish. If he's lonely, let the douche get one of those juju pets!

Chris said...

Omego-3-fatty acids worked wonders for my 10 year old lab. Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM were useless in helping my dog. It was not until a friend suggested fish oils that I started to have success from the holistic side. I did not use Nordic Naturals that Dr. Roger talked about, but went with what was in my vet's office, a product called Derm Caps. It took a couple of weeks to see a difference, but boy what a difference. He has been on them for 6 months now, and this dog who was once dependent on daily anti inflammatory drugs, now only has to occassionally have a pill if he has been extra active on a given day, or if the weather is exceptionally cold. His skin and hair coat also have never looked better. This stuff is no joke!