OMEGA OIL FACTS and Deterring Disease
Many name brand fish oils have been found to contain toxins. Read this from 2010:
Fetch a Few More Years
by Susan G. Wynn, D.V.M.
Nutrition and health care for the longevity of dogs and cats
Humans are not the only members of the family who can benefit from nutrition and preventive health care. Dogs and cats can also greatly profit. Research and clinical observations support the notion that diet and supplements gently usher our canine and feline friends into a healthy and happy old age.
A variety of conditions determine how fast a pet ages. Species and breed genetics are major factors. Great Danes are notorious for breaking their owners' hearts, because that breed's life expectancy is only eight years. On the other hand, 20-year-old Pomeranians are not uncommon. Most cats live about 12 years, and some even hit 20. Individual genetics are another factor within both purebreds and mixed breeds. Bloodlines do tell the story, so anyone buying a pet should ask how old the ancestors were when they died. Other factors determining a pet's life span include lifetime nutrition, lifestyle and environment.
Some age-related changes are perfectly normal. For instance, a 12-year-old cocker spaniel that begins to lose its hearing or a 14-year-old cat that spends less time stalking prey is not always undergoing an abnormal process. Cloudy eyes, slowing romps and longer naps can also be expected. Sometimes, however, these symptoms are signs of age-related illness. Obviously, the trick is determining the cause. A veterinarian should be consulted for any of the following symptoms: changes in food and water consumption, fluctuations in body weight, abnormal urination or defecation, changes in activity level, abnormal odors, chronic discharges, lumps, sores that don't heal, color changes in skin or eyes, coughing, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea.
Cancer: This devastating disease is becoming as common in domestic animals as it is in humans. This is not surprising because the same risk factors apply: Improper diet, stress, genetics and exposure to chemical or physical carcinogens.10,11 Cancer of the nose and mouth are common in dogs and cats, possibly because they use their noses so much more intensely than humans do and because they lick their coats, where environmental carcinogens may be deposited. In particular, older animals should be fed high-quality diets without potentially cancer-causing preservatives; pet owners should not over-medicate and should limit their pets' exposure to pesticides.
A dog or a cat with cancer needs a special diet--one that unfortunately is not yet available commercially. Researchers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins have determined that carbohydrate metabolism is altered in canine cancer patients and that tumors preferentially utilize dietary carbohydrates for growth.12 Some veterinarians have acted on this information by prescribing a Paleolithic pet diet. For dogs and cats this means a moderate-protein, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet composed of high-quality meat, vegetables and very little grain, if any at all. In my experience this diet has been effective in improving survival rates and the quality of life for pets with cancer. However, it is easy to cause serious nutritional imbalances with this diet such as calcium/phosphorus or other abnormalities, so it should be designed and implemented with a veterinarian's guidance.
Other commonly recommended supplements for pets with cancer include fish oil, antioxidant vitamins and, in some cases, herbs that stimulate the immune system. I commonly recommend the adaptogens maitake (Grifola frondosa) and reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms as well as astragalus (Astragalus spp.) to support immune function in cancer patients. **Use caution when working with lymphoma patients, however. I don't recommend stimulating their immune systems because this could stimulate growth in the lymphoma cells.
Preventive care is as important for animals as it is for humans, and diet remains the centerpiece. Geriatric diets are not often indicated for preventive care, although prescription or specialized diets are sometimes necessary for pets with an established disease. Regular exams become more important as pets age; unfortunately, animals are not able to express mild aches and pains, fatigue or other potential indicators of serious disease. A veterinary exam may reveal lumps by palpation, heart abnormalities by auscultation, or organ disease by blood test. Regular veterinary exams are also a good opportunity to discuss what vaccines are or are not necessary. Older pets may slow down, but regular exercise is extremely important. Scheduled exercise is a great way to spend quality time with an older pet--walks for the dog or play time with a cat. These pets need owner attention even more than they did as younger animals and really appreciate the interaction with their best friends. They know, as we do, that there's no friend like an old friend.