Supplements for pets: Choosing the right ones may be confusing |

Supplements for pets: Choosing the right ones may be confusing

Gina Kang
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Similar to human medicine, there are a variety of supplements available in the pet market.

Choosing the correct supplements may be confusing, and veterinary research can be limited.

The following supplements are commonly used in veterinary medicine:

Glucosamine and chondroitin: Most of the studies involving these joint supplements have been done on human subjects. There are some veterinary studies that showed that glucosamine/chondroitin combinations improved mobility in veterinary patients with osteoarthritis. However, some studies have shown no effect. More research in veterinary medicine is needed to determine the actual benefits. In most cases, glucosamine/chondroitin is a safe supplement for veterinary patients and may be worth a try.

Essential Fatty Acids and Fish Oils: Fatty acids are needed in the production of enzymes involved in the endocrine system. In addition, they may help some skin disorders such as dry skin as well as osteoarthritis and cardiac disease.

Milk Thistle and SAM-E: These supplements have been shown to reduce oxidative stress on the liver. These supplements may be helpful in treating some liver diseases and toxicities.

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Probiotics: The World Health Organization defines Probiotics as "live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." These organisms include bacteria such as Lactobacillus, found in yogurt. Probiotics have been found to be most useful in treatment of diarrhea in cats and dogs. However, other studies have found that probiotics may be useful in other diseases such as feline urinary tract disease.

Before starting any medication or supplement for your pet, please consult your veterinarian.

Gina Kang, DVM, MS, lives in Truckee and works at the Doctor's Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way, No. 101, Truckee. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. Visit or call 530-587-5144.