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Omega-3 Supplements for Cats??

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Does anyone give their cat Omega-3 supplements? What changes have you observed in your cat once they started taking them? Better behaved, shinier coat, etc? What kind do you give them and how much?

post #2 of 22

I give my guys Krill Oil, but I just started it.  Mainly I am doing it because I'm trying to get Darko to lose weight, and others here have had luck with adding it to their piggy's diets.  This is what I use: NOW Foods NKO Krill Oil 500 mg, and I'm working my way up to the full 500 mg per cat.

 

Some cats like it, some don't.  Naturally, the one I want to eat it doesn't like it, so I have to hide it in his food, but just today I decided to see if my other two like it, and they both went crazy for it smile.gif.   Since I feed raw, mine already have the shiniest coats ever biggrin.gif, but I imagine if you added fish oil of any kind to your cats' diet, it would improve their coats.  As to any behavioral changes from the Omega 3, haven't noticed anything, but I wasn't really looking rolleyes.gif (I'm looking at his new thinner waistline clap.gif)

post #3 of 22

We give ours 500 mg of salmon oil every other day.  Every day would be fine, but we are cutting costs.  3 of my 4 were already healthy and shiny and the fourth has so many issues, supplements and meds that it is hard to say what helps her.  They also switched from grain free canned to raw at the same time they started using omega 3's.  I have noticed dramatically less shedding....but that could be a seasonal thing.  When spring hits I'll know for sure. 

post #4 of 22
I started supplementing omega 3s when I started feeding raw, so I have no idea what can be ascribed to the omega 3s, and what's due to the raw.

Just wanted to pop in to point out that for cats, given that they cannot convert the omega 3 ALA into its useable components, EPA and DHA (they lack the digestive enzyme necessary to do this), for them to benefit from an omega 3 supplement, it has to be a fish-based one. A named fish results in a higher quality oil, which is why most use either salmon oil or krill oil. The appropriate dose for an adult cat is 500mg/day, though I'm sure the addition of any is healthy for them. The diet we feed them, no matter WHAT it is (homemade, commercial, raw, dry, canned), does not have the natural omega 6: omega 3 ratio because of our factory farmed meats.
post #5 of 22
Can salmon oil be harmful for cats?
There are reports that fish oil supplements could increase blood sugar and that is why it must be used with caution by people( the same thing for cats and dogs) with diabetes or those who are prone to it.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaraOzza View Post

Can salmon oil be harmful for cats?
There are reports that fish oil supplements could increase blood sugar and that is why it must be used with caution by people( the same thing for cats and dogs) with diabetes or those who are prone to it.

 

Has any controlled study shown that fish oil increases blood sugar? I couldn't find one. All I found was that there are inconsistent reports on whether or not it  raises blood sugar. Until a study is performed that identifies and controls the variables involved I'm not going to worry about it.

 

If anyone has a problem with controlling the blood glucose level of a diabetic cat and fish oil is included in the diet they can always stop feeding the fish oil and see if it helps. 

post #7 of 22
Actually, fish oil has been shown to help in diabetes in people (given the relationship between diabetes and heart disease, the focus has been on fish oil in helping prevent heart disease) and have no impact on "glycemic control." It apparently MAY increase insulin sensitivity - meaning when starting to use fish oil in a diabetic cat, you need to pay closer attention, because you may need less insulin, and over time, you may need no insulin.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/199867.php

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/4/494.full.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11687050/
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post

Has any controlled study shown that fish oil increases blood sugar? I couldn't find one. All I found was that there are inconsistent reports on whether or not it  raises blood sugar. Until a study is performed that identifies and controls the variables involved I'm not going to worry about it.

If anyone has a problem with controlling the blood glucose level of a diabetic cat and fish oil is included in the diet they can always stop feeding the fish oil and see if it helps. 

I always knew only great things about fish oil. We are using it for ourselves and after learning from TCS members that it also very beneficial for cats; our cat is getting his fish oil supplement 3-4 times a week as well. But I never thought about the side effects of fish oil, until now.

I was surprised to read how someone’s cat had increased blood sugar after her owner started adding salmon oil for pets to the cat’s food. After discontinuing the supplement the cat’s sugar level went down back to normal.

I found this information on the site of the University of Maryland Medical Center:

Precautions:
Also, people with type 2 diabetes may experience increases in fasting blood sugar levels while taking fish oil supplements. If you have type 2 diabetes, use fish oil supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider.


http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm

I agree with you, there isn’t much information or evidence about this kind of side effect of fish oil.

Quite opposite, there studies indicating that eating foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes.
post #9 of 22
Thanks for sharing the info - that's very helpful to know. agree.gif

Here's the "not" precautions part of that article. laughing02.gif
Quote:
People with diabetes often have high triglyceride and low HDL levels. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help lower triglycerides and apoproteins (markers of diabetes), and raise HDL, so eating foods or taking fish oil supplements may help people with diabetes. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, ALA (from flaxseed, for example) may not have the same benefit as fish oil. Some people with diabetes can' t efficiently convert ANA to a form of omega-3 fatty acids that the body can use. Also, some people with type 2 diabetes may have slight increases in fasting blood sugar when taking fish oil, so talk to your doctor to see if fish oil is right for you.



Given the overall benefits of fish oil, if I had a cat with diabetes, I'd introduce a fish oil product slowly with the knowledge of my vet, and keep a close eye on blood sugar levels.

Given the study results appear to be mixed, it may depend on the type of or reason for the diabetes, the cat's weight, lean body mass vs fat levels. etc.
post #10 of 22
ETA: I did know about the high blood pressure part. Flowerbelle is on blood pressure medication as she has high BP. I give her krill oil instead of salmon oil because of her arthritis, and I've not had to change the amount of blood pressure medication she gets. We kept a very close eye on her BP the first few months we started using the salmon (then krill) oil. agree.gif
post #11 of 22

While we are on the subject, I give mine Salmon Oil now, but I personally take Max DHA which has a higher concentration of DHA

than most Fish Oils. It is made from Squid - what do you think about giving that to Kitties?   dontknow.gif

post #12 of 22
This is the product: http://www.jarrow.com/product/90/Max_DHA

The recommended dose for a person is 2 softgels, which has 800mg of DHA and 72mg of EPA.

I'll have to find the reference, but DHA and EPA are recommended to be provided in a rather specific ratio for dogs and cats, and that isn't it. laughing02.gif I'll be back when I find it.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

This is the product: http://www.jarrow.com/product/90/Max_DHA

The recommended dose for a person is 2 softgels, which has 800mg of DHA and 72mg of EPA.

I'll have to find the reference, but DHA and EPA are recommended to be provided in a rather specific ratio for dogs and cats, and that isn't it. laughing02.gif I'll be back when I find it.

 

Thanks Laurie   highfive.gif

 

Those actually have 500 mg of DHA (but the print is quite small, so I can clearly understand the misread)  catman.gif

 

I take one of these, plus one of "theirs" which is Natural Factors Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil,

which has 107 mg of EPA and 93 mg of DHA per softgel.

 

For the Kitties, I just squeeze one softgel into the wet food that 6 Kitties share, so I am not giving them much.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Thanks for sharing the info - that's very helpful to know. agree.gif



You are welcome, Laurie! smile.gif
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SevenWonders View Post

Thanks Laurie   highfive.gif

Those actually have 500 mg of DHA (but the print is quite small, so I can clearly understand the misread)  catman.gif

I take one of these, plus one of "theirs" which is Natural Factors Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil,
which has 107 mg of EPA and 93 mg of DHA per softgel.

For the Kitties, I just squeeze one softgel into the wet food that 6 Kitties share, so I am not giving them much.

Yeah, it does say 500mg of DHA. sigh.gif I really don't want to need bifocals...

For people, the research indicates the DHA is particularly important for brain function - memory, helping prevent alzheimers, etc. This one is selling his product, but references studies: http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/DHA_benefits.aspx

This article explains why both are needed, and a ratio of 2:1 EPA:DHA is important (in people): http://www.zonediet.com/blog/2011/05/the-fallacy-of-using-dha-alone-for-brain-trauma/ ...and by the same Doc, at Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-zone/201204/what-are-the-real-differences-between-epa-and-dha

OK. I remember why fatty acids in feline nutrition gave me such a headache! laughing02.gif There is so much conflicting information. Of course, part of that reason is that there are relatively few studies of the omega 3s in cats. It's been long established that AA (an omega 6) is an essential fatty acid - and cats have a higher requirement for it than dogs or people. But research on omega 3s is lacking in felines.

The Nutrition Research Council's Nutrient Requirement of Dogs and Cats - on which the AAFCO bases its nutrition recommendations - says that EPA should not exceed 20% of EPA+DHA. This information, however, is not referenced. !!!! smashfreak.gif

But most fish/salmon/krill oils have a LOT more EPA than DHA. So from the NRC perspective, this supplement looks appropriate. dontknow.gif

BUT... I also have this in my bookmarks: http://www.westsidefamilypet.com/pet-health-library/nutrition-introduction/prebiotics-probiotics/fish-oils/

It's just some pet clinic... but the article cites sources, which is better than the NRC, because they provide no source for that recommendation. The chapter on essential fatty acids in the NRC is heavily referenced - but there's not much discussion of the long chain PUFAs (omega 3s) other than effect (and research) on reproduction in Queens and growth in kittens - in which DHA is deemed the most important. But from what I'm understanding, when eating a mouse, a cat would get a lot of DHA from the brain, because it's stored there, but how much EPA would be in brain or tissues? dontknow.gif

So anyway, the pet clinic article recommends 20mg of EPA per pound of animal, and 12mg of DHA per pound of animal. I haven't looked to see if any of its sources are available online yet.

And then there's Dr. Patrick Mahaney (one of the vets Jackson Galaxy uses on the show), who recommends
Quote:
When reading a fish oil label, look for the total milligrams (mg) of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which are common forms of omega 3 fatty acids. EPA is considered to be most important in reducing inflammation, while DHA is an important structural component of the brain and retina (light receiving portion of the eye).

To achieve an anti-inflammatory effect on your pet’s joints, provide a dose of omega 3 (EPA and DHA combination) fatty acids in the approximate amount of 16 mg/lb (180mg/5kg) every 24 hours (once daily). For example, a 10 lb dog should take 160mg EPA/DHA per day.

http://www.patrickmahaney.com/animal-treatment/using-omega-fatty-acids-to-benefit-the-joint-health-of-your-pet/

This means the 110mg of EPA+DHA my cats get from the Pure Alaska Omega salmon oil isn't enough; same with the kitties getting 500mg of krill oil. The only pet I actually use the supplement for joint health is Flowerbelle, and the 500mg of krill oil clearly has a positive impact on her mobility - where the 500mg of fish oil did not. Apparently there is something to the phospholipids in the krill oil increasing bioavailability of the PUFAs. dontknow.gif

sigh.gif

Oh - and both (salmon oil and krill oil) are completely backwards if the NRC is to be believed. The Pure Alaska Omega is approximately 50mg of EPA and 60mg of DHA, for EPA of 45.5%. I haven't looked to see if this is similar to other salmon oils. The NOW Neptune krill oil is approximately 70mg EPA and 40mg DHA (they give a range), which is 63% EPA.


But if anyone feels like checking up on the quality of their supplement vs claims made, you can pay for the report published by Consumer Labs this past August: http://www.consumerlab.com/news/Review%20of%20Fish%20Oil%20and%20Omega-3%20Supplments%20by%20ConsumerLab.com/8_22_2012/

So... sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but this subject is a real PIA! laughing02.gif
post #16 of 22
Is there an upper limit or toxicity level associated with fish oil supplementation?
post #17 of 22
No, but this article explains the thinking on "too much" (in humans): http://www.livestrong.com/article/433175-omega-3-daily-intake-limit/
post #18 of 22
Thank you for that article! I tended to add more fish oil than Dr. Pierson's old recommendation, leaning toward Anne's recommendation on catnutrition.com and her thoughts on the fragility of the fish oil.
post #19 of 22
Why supplements over/instead of food such as unsalted sardines, etc.?
post #20 of 22
I use both. agree.gif

If you just want some omega 3s and vitamin D, sardines or whatever are more than fine, and a good choice (if your cats like them). I have two cats that won't eat any sardine, and one that sometimes does and sometimes doesn't.

But to get to the same amount of EPA+DHA that's in a supplement, you'd need to feed more sardine than I'm comfortable with.

For instance, the krill oil I give Flowerbelle daily for her joints has (the minimum listed in the range) 70mg EPA and 40mg DHA for a total of 110 EPA+DHA. According to the USDA nutrient database, one 38g sardine has 20mg of EPA and 32mg of DHA, for a total of 52mg of EPA+DHA. So that would be 2 large sardines daily.

The tin of sardines I use weighs 4.375 oz (which is 124g). If each sardine in it weighed 38g, there would be 3 1/4 sardines in the tin. (There are usually 5). So I'd have to feed Flowerbelle about 2/3 of a can of sardines daily to have the equivalent amount of EPA+DHA she gets from her krill oil supplement.

Also, in the diet I feed them, I wanted to get the omega 6: omega 3 ratio below 5:1. To do that, I have to feed them the 500mg of krill or salmon oil daily, AND split one can of sardines between 8 cats weekly (though only 6 of the cats eat them. laughing02.gif ).

Most whole prey model raw feeders that don't believe in supplementing provide sardines once or twice a week. For 8 cats, 2 tins of sardines fed weekly put the O6:O3 ratio at around 9:1 (and that's with trimming all the fat off the meat to lower the amount of O6 they get).

The natural diet of a cat has an O6:O3 ratio of 2:1 (according to the Plantinga et al. 2011 Analysis of feral cat diet study).

So that's why I supplement with salmon and/or krill oil and use sardines. smile.gif
post #21 of 22
I supplement the fish oil since that is what both recipes call for. I use fish oil from smaller fish in hopes of reducing mercury content.
post #22 of 22

MaraOzza, you were on the money with the Maryland Study!  I too am going to post it because this question really depends on the individual cat.  I have a diabetic cat caused by Depo Medrol steroid use while attempted pain control for the autoimmune disorder Stomatitis.  He started the stomatitis journey with an enlarged heart so when you read this article, you can see the fine line we walk I his Omega-3 supplement.

 

Specifically, I needed to get away from the harsh systemic drugs used to control his pain and inflammation.  I started him on Omegas to reduce inflammation, naturally enhance his volatile immune system, and improve his overall skin condition (not just his mouth and mouth pain).  Because eating is difficult and fish is usually salty, his diet does not provide for the nutrients he needs.  But with his enlarged heart and April 29 blood work showing low platelets - I don't dose everyday due to the risk of bleeding.

 

His blood sugar definitely went up, I could tell on day two even before testing him.  In an uncompromised cat, I would not worry as much  but the dose needs to range around 120/70mg (EPA/DHA) range with Vitamin E needed for bioavailability.  ONLY BUY A PURIFIED OIL, over the counter human formulas include A & D, both of which can easily become stored to toxic levels as those fat solubles can in humans.  They also require taking more for the same concentration as purified.  The addition of Vitamin A is a another no-no in diabetic cat. 

 

There was an abundance of Omega 6's is his diet leading up to his diagnosis, the 6's actually promote inflammation.  Cat food is loaded with it (dry) which he ate mostly before having his teeth removed to combat the stomatitis.  He still eats dry- when you have a cat that you struggle with daily to eat - yes, I let him have whatever it is he will eat some days.

 

This study that Mara previously listed and I am still going to has many facets - diseases where you may find you might need to tailor your dosage around!!!!!!

 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids

 

Thanks for all you guys do for our felines!!

Trish and Thomas J.

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