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Questions about omega-3 supplements

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Katy is 16 and has some chronic health issues. Four years ago, she was diagnosed with HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) which has been treated since then. At the same time she was diagnosed with hyperT and had I131. That same year, she was also diagnosed with IBD and has been on oral prednisolone since. She's also on medicine for high blood pressure and arthritis. I know . . . poor girl.

For about the last year she hasn't been doing very well, much more lethargic and she's lost 2 pounds though right now her weight is fairly stable. She's been re-scoped for IBD, had mountains of blood work and x-rays, and was switched from oral to injectable then back to oral steroids. The only thing they've found is a low potassium and a couple of weeks ago she was started on a potassium supplement (the gel which she loathes). I have to admit that since starting her on the potassium and restarting her Cosequin, she's acted much perkier.

The vet suggested starting her on omega-3 fatty acids which should just help her overall health.

The problem . . . I can't find any that are a size I can use to pill her. She eats nothing but dry food . . . no canned, no tuna, no kitty treats . . . nothing, so I can't pierce a gelcap and put it on her food.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 9
You might still be able to put the oil on her dry food, if she'll eat it. Unfortunately my cats hated the stuff, so I ended up pilling them with the gelcap, despite the large size (my cats are pretty easy to pill).

What is her current thyroid level? Occasionally cats will end up hypothyroid after I-131, and they may require supplementation (thyroid supplements are much easier on their bodies than methimazole, so even though she might still need a pill, the I-131 was almostly certainly the best option). You might also want to talk to your vet about whether Duralactin might help your kitty--it is a supplement that is supposed to be good for inflammation. Also, if your kitty does okay with pills, over-the-counter potassium pills might be a better option than the gel that she hates (as well as being cheaper since they can be found at any drug store). Make sure to talk to the vet about the proper dosage if you go that route.
post #3 of 9
You can get real small empty capsules at the drug store, and put the oil in them. I have done this with cranberry powder. they are still a little big, but slathered with butter, they go down just fine. you could slather yours with fish oil.
post #4 of 9
I intend to learn more about adding omega-3 to my cat's diets.
Below is an excellent article from the library of one of TheCatSite's guest experts, Dr Jean.
I thought you might like to read it.

Keep us updated about how your sweet Katy is doing.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input.

Cloud Shade, Katy had a free T4 done in December 2008 and it was normal. Katy's always been a dream to pill . . . until I started giving her the potassium gel. She really hates getting her meds now. I'll definitely go the pill route if she continues to need potassium. I know she wouldn't eat her food if I put the oil on it. I've tried to put powder supplements on it before and even tried to moisten it with water after she had a dental and had to have some teeth removed. She wouldn't touch it. I swear this girl would starve herself if I tried to do anything different with her food!

Gailuvscats, I use empty gelcaps now to put her meds in. It's so much easier since she gets several pills a day. Those might be an option although a messy one I imagine.

Xocats, great article! I'm going to print it out and keep it with Katy's other medical reports.

Thank you guys. I've got a call in to Katy's vet at Iowa State to talk to her about this.
post #6 of 9
My oldest girl has multiple health issues and is on a variety of meds, some similar to your Katy.

Instead of the potassium gel, what about trying Tumil-K powder? If the dose isn't too high, it's possible the powder could be put into a small gel cap which you can pill Katy with (since thankfully, she's good about that).

I know you said that Katy doesn't like anything but dry food. Still, you might want to give Greenies Pill Pockets a try. I haven't used them myself, but lots of members swear by them. Many vets carry them now, so you might ask if your vet has a sample for you . Here's some info about Pill Pockets:

Welactin is an Omega-3 supplement recommended by the nutritionist at the animal hospital I go to. It comes as a liquid in a pump dispenser and also in little "twist" caps. The liquid is supposed to be highly palatable, but Katy will be the judge of that I wonder if the liquid in the twist caps could be poured into a pill pocket, crimping the ends closed. Of course, Katy would have to like the pill pocket...
Some info about Welactin:

What kind of test did Katy get for IBD? My girl has this as well. My vet went by clinical signs mostly, since biopsies of the pancreas are not recommended. You mentioned a "scope" - could you explain?

Another TCS member gave me good advice for two supplements that help alleviate IBD symptoms (her own cat had severe IBD). Give 1/2 of 250 mg L-Glutamine twice per day. Also, use slippery elm syrup, at least once per day. Slippery elm is very soothing to the digestive system and helps ease inflammation. If you're interested in trying the syrup, please let me know and I'll be happy to give you the recipe, which is simple.

Just wondering, is there any chance of weaning Katy off the pred? She's been on it quite a while - usually vets don't recommend long-term use.
post #7 of 9
Originally Posted by KTLynn View Post
...Also, use slippery elm syrup, at least once per day. Slippery elm is very soothing to the digestive system and helps ease inflammation....
One important point about using Slippery Elm:
...Slippery Elm may interfere with the absorption of certain minerals and pharmaceuticals, so is best given separately from any concurrent drug therapy. (from Dr. Jean's article on SEB)
Slippery Elm Bark Cautions
Do not give Slippery Elm Bark at the same time as any other medications or supplements - it can inhibit the absorption of the medications. It is best to give it an hour before or after any other medications (especially antibiotics), and ideally on an empty stomach, although it is safe to sprinkle it on food if you wish. (from
The only other caution relates to its high calcium content - not good for kitties with existing high calcium issues.

Personally, I think SEB should be in every cat's medecine cabinet!
post #8 of 9
Something that is great for heart heath as well is CoQ10 - you can dicuss this with your vet... I give it to Bugsy for his Gingivitis - anyways, the reason I am saying this, is that they do have CoQ10 soft gel caps WITH fish oil/omega 3, as it is the best way for intake, and the softgels are pretty small...
Here is a link for the brand I use - and a coupon code for $5.00 off: VES097
Good Luck!!
post #9 of 9
Thanks, BLAISE, for the additional info about the slippery elm. I wasn't sure if DebsKats would be interested in using it for her kitty, so I didn't go into too much detail. It should be noted as well that ideally, slippery elm shouldn't be given right before a meal. I give my kitty her dose at least 1 full hour before.

I also agree with carolinalima about the CoQ10 for HCM. My kitty's cardiologist recommends 30 mg once per day (sometimes more is recommended depending on the particular cat). He also advises the use of supplemental taurine, 1/2 of a 500mg cap given twice per day.

Always consult with the vet before using any new supplements.
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