Ask Seth: Fish Oil for Cats

Is fish oil for cats safe?  My 15 year old cat has arthritis in one of his front legs and my dogs are taking fish oil daily for their arthritis. Cheryl Becker

Arthritis in cats is quite common.  There are a few things you can do for your cat to help him.  Keeping his weight at a lean and healthy weight will help a lot.  The less weight that he carries around the less stress will be on the arthritic leg.  You cannot remove the arthritis, but you can delay and lessen it’s effect on his quality of life. Here are 3 things I have seen used in practice under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils) are naturally found in fish and other foods that reduce inflammation.  This can help lower the discomfort and pain of the arthritis.  There are a few companies that make it in a easy to use packet of in a dropper that you simply put it on the food.  There are a few diets on the market with increased omega 3 fatty acids.   Consult your veterinarian before starting, simply because as you increase the omega 3 fatty acids, your cat may tend to put on additional weight and some cats can get some loose stools.

Another option is glucosamine supplements.  Glucosamine is made up from a number of different shellfish and is a natural compound that stimulates bone and joint regrowth.  This helps the connective tissues repair some of the damage caused by the degeneration due to arthritis.  Some animals regain strength and function of the affected limbs.  Your vet can provide the proper dosage for your animal.  There is a veterinary grade injectable version that your vet can inject and it lasts a few weeks at a time.

I have also seen the benefits physical therapy and you can always provide a massage to the affected limb.  This will help stimulate blood flow to the area. 

If the pain gets worse for your animal, seek a veterinarian and they may provide an anti-inflammatory medication to help control the pain.  These should only be used for short periods of time.

Does your cat have arthritis? What do you do to relieve the pain? Tell us in the comment section!

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