The role of EPA and DHA acids in veterinary dietotherapy

Published by Renata

Essential fatty acids from the omega 3 family have a multidirectional, positive effect on the body of dogs and other pets. EPA (eicosapentaenoic) and DHA (docosahexaenoic) acids play an important role in the prevention and alleviation of lesions, including inflammatory diseases. The calming effect of omega 3 on inflammation in animal organisms has been studied for a long time, hence it is known that EPA and DHA are necessary for the synthesis of mediators that inhibit inflammatory processes, including protectins and resolvins. At the same time, EPA and DHA reduce the formation of pro-inflammatory factors, including prostaglandins, leukotriene B4 and interleukin.

The anti-inflammatory effect of n-3 acids is widely used in dietotherapy and veterinary dietoprophylaxis. One of the most common diseases in dogs, in the treatment of which unsaturated fatty acids from the omega-3 family are used, are atopy and other itchy skin diseases. In animals suffering from skin lesions and pruritus, after enriching the diet with EPA and DHA acids, there was a clear improvement in the condition of the skin and coat, and a significant reduction in pruritus. [1, 13, 17, 18]

The level of EPA and DHA acids is considered very important in the diet of dogs suffering from joint degeneration and can significantly improve their condition, while reducing the doses of analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs taken by animals [3, 7]. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the production of PGE2, IL-1p, IL-6 and TNF-a in dogs, effectively inhibiting the inflammatory reaction associated with osteoarthritis [4]. DHA acid can also be used in the prevention of osteoporosis, because it has a limiting effect on the activity of osteoclasts, and also has an effect on the increase of calcium content in bone tissue [11, 15].

In clinical trials of dogs with heart disease, it was confirmed that omega-3s have a positive effect on the work of the heart muscle, including in cases of ventricular arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation [12, 20].

In animals receiving 1g of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid per day, a significant improvement in the physiological parameters of the heart was observed, compared to dogs receiving a placebo [5].

For older dogs, supplementing the diet with DHA is beneficial due to its neuroprotective properties. It has been shown that DHA inhibits neuronal apoptosis during neurodegenerative diseases and processes related to the aging of the dog’s body [6, 14].

Research results also indicate that a deficiency of omega-3 acids in the diet of dogs may be associated with reduced resistance to stress and increased tendencies to aggressive behavior [16].

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are also very important in the nutrition of pregnant and lactating bitches and puppies [19, 21]. Both EPA and DHA play key roles in the proper development of the nervous system.

It has been shown that supplementing the diet of pregnant and lactating bitches and puppies with fish-derived omega-3 acids has a positive effect on cognitive and motor skills [10]. DHA is also necessary for the proper development of the puppy’s eyesight, which has also been confirmed by research [8].

Omega-3 fatty acids are also used in the diet therapy of renal failure in dogs. Studies have shown that the administration of EPA and DHA acids improves the functioning of the kidneys in dogs [2].

Deficiency of EPA and DHA acids can increase the body’s susceptibility to infections. Studies conducted on dogs of different ages have shown that enriching the diet with unsaturated fatty acids from the omega-3 family has a positive effect on the functioning of the immune system [9].




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