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     Cardiac disease in both animals and people can benefit from fish oil supplementation. Cardio-protective actions include increased refractory period and reduced potential for arrhythmia via a reduction in electrical excitability. Studies have shown increased survival times in dogs with chronic heart failure.


     In a clinical research trial involving dogs, fish oil was shown to slow glomerular changes and to preserve renal architecture. It is assumed these positive effects on kidney disease would also occur in cats afflicted with chronic renal disease. The anti- inflammatory properties of fish oil should be helpful to those pets suffering from glomerulonephritis and pyelonephritis. Future research may confirm an immune-mediated etiology for feline renal disease stemming from vaccinations. If this is proven then fish oil could be particularly helpful in reducing this type of inflammation within the kidneys.


     Fish oil may be beneficial in treating a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases because it blocks the production of inflammatory cytokines. In a study of asthmatic children a small dose of fish oil was found to decrease symptom scores. Environmental allergens and food allergens are thought to play a significant role in canine bronchitis and feline asthma. Fish oil is just one supplement that can help to reduce inflammation in the respiratory systems of these patients. Bone and joint inflammation also responds to fish oil. Human clinical trials have shown supplementation with fish oil allowed patients with rheumatoid arthritis to reduce their dosage of NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications). Reducing inflammation in joints equates with a reduction in pain. At Animal Health & Healing we have found fish oil to be helpful in reducing symptoms of arthritis, skin allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, gingivitis, and stomatitis.

     It is important to remember that although fish oil is a great nutritional supplement it is not a cure-all. It should just be a part of an overall holistic therapeutic plan. A good natural balanced diet is still the base of the pyramid upon which all other healing modalities must build. Combining the best of western medicine with holistic therapies offers our patients with chronic disease the best chance to heal.

Dr. Teresa Garden is chief veterinarian and owner of Animal Health & Healing, a full-service holistic and conventional veterinary practice in the Maplewood/Richmond Heights area. AnimalHealthandHealing.com; phone: 314-781-1738