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Nutrient - Fish oil eases canine arthritis too

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

The potential anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil were first suggested by studies in Greenland Eskimos, where fatty acid intake from seafood is high and there is lower prevalence of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and heart disease. Since then, fish oil has become increasingly accepted for its potential benefits to health. However, its benefits are not confined to the human population. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, fish oil can be of benefit to dogs, too.

To evaluate the effects of fish oil omega 3 fatty acids in dogs with osteoarthritis, a team of researchers carried out a randomised, double-blind, controlled clinical trial on 38 dogs with joint problems. Dogs were randomly assigned to receive a typical commercial food or a test food containing added fish oil omega 3 fatty acids.

On day 0 (before the trial began) and days 45 and 90 (after the trial began), investigators conducted orthopaedic tests and measured the weight-bearing ability of each of the dogs’ legs. The dogs’ owners were also asked to complete a questionnaire to characterise their dogs’ arthritis signs and symptoms.

When the data was analysed, the researchers found a significant enhancement in weight-bearing ability in the dogs given the fish oil, whereas those having the normal food showed no improvement. In addition, the questionnaire results revealed the dogs who were fed the fish-oil-enhanced food had significant improvements in lameness and weight bearing on day 90, compared with measurements obtained on day 0.

Article References

Roush JK et al. Evaluation of the effects of dietary supplementation with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids on weight bearing in dogs with osteoarthritis. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2010; 236(1): 67-73.

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