Hello to all of our fantastic pet owners,
I just wanted to take a moment to talk to you about a serious problem that many of our dog and cat companions may be facing. Many of you have probably already heard about conditions involving inflammation, either for you or your pet, and if you have been stuck in the exam room as I talk your ear off about skin problems and allergies, you know what I mean. But there is a much bigger picture, and we now understand how much inflammation is part of numerous conditions and disorders.
In both human and animal research, inflammation is a top contributor to cancer, chronic diseases like allergies, heart and kidney, gastrointestinal problems (IBD/IBS), asthma/respiratory disease, cognitive dysfunction (senility), arthritis (DJD), and simply “old age changes”. Inflammation can be an acute problem, thus the sprained ankles and bug bites, and a little is not a bad thing, but I want to focus on the excessive and chronic inflammation that is affecting most of us.
What is inflammation? I am not going to torture you with a long explanation. Simply, it is a cascade and progression of numerous chemicals, cells, and enzyme pathways that help the body try to deal with damage, trauma, infections, cell death and injury, and numerous other things that happen every day. We need these actions to survive but if we are not able to keep more of a balance in these systems, then the scales tip towards out of control inflammation. We have all heard of anti-inflammatory drugs, and they can be lifesavers, but they are meant for short-term usage and only as needed. They are not a long-term solution. So what can we do to reduce inflammation without having to depend on drugs every day?
Good question and some of you have already heard the answer, but I am going to tease you for a minute. The key to getting a handle on inflammation is to understand one of the main driving forces…what we eat. There are so many essential nutrients we get from our diet, but some foods are deceptive in how good they sound. One example is Flax Seed. I have seen this popping up in almost every new, holistic, grain-free, organic, fancy diet out there. This all started with the potential health benefits on the human side… which are real to an extent but only if the seed is pulverized (whole flax is not usable in the human body). But we are not treating humans at Williamsburg Veterinary Clinic. We are treating dogs and cats, and guess what….. Flax Seed does absolutely nothing for our pets. They put it in foods so they can claim Omega 3 content but it is like putting gas in a propane tank, the wrong fuel source for that machine.
So back to the answer… Yep, it’s Omega 3’s (some of you saw that coming). Our companions need high levels of Omega 3’s, but specifically EPA and DHA. Flax Seed only offers ALA which is not absorbed in our patients. So the only source of EPA and DHA is fatty fishes. Why do food companies use flax instead of fish (other than the hype)… have you bought Salmon lately….. it’s the expense. Flax is cheap and abundant. And that leads me to my next point.
It’s not just about the Omega 3’s. Some people have never heard of Omega 6’s. They are the potentially evil cousin to the Omega 3’s and guess what……. they CAUSE inflammation. Guess what has a ton of Omega 6’s? Almost every pet food in America. These fatty acids come from plants and are an inexpensive source of fats for diets. The real problem lies in the proper ratio between the 6’s and the 3’s. With the exception of the therapeutic or prescription joint diets like Mobility, j/d, or JM, all pet foods have an imbalance with way too much Omega 6.
So, is there any way to quantify or test for this imbalance and thus the level of inflammation. The good news is yes. We now have a test called IFATS and all it takes is a few drops of blood and about two weeks for the results to come back. We can run this test on any adult dog or cat and have different ways of using the results. There are going to be around 10% of the population that will have very little inflammation because of this imbalance, but for the majority, this test will let us know about your pet’s risk. An owner can elect to perform the test just to see where your pet stands. Maybe an owner is feeding a good diet or already giving an Omega 3 supplement and wants to see if it is sufficient. It will also be part of our clinic’s future overall health initiative coming next year. This same test for humans is going to be offered to our staff in the coming weeks so we can even see how we as humans are doing.
Whatever the reason may be for pursuing this test, the good news is that we can now offer a superior and convenient solution. I have personally been taking a very potent fish oil supplement for years and recently did some research into the different products available for humans. I was astonished that many were minimal regarding the levels of EPA and DHA not to mention many did not have the levels
printed on the labels. The product I was taking was better than most but I decided to switch. I changed to a product produced by physicians directly for their patients. Now I can offer that same quality product for pets made by veterinarians for veterinarians.
I recently sent all of my current fatty acid supplements back (not that they were bad, but now I have what I believe to be a more pure, more concentrated, and more effective option). We now carry Omega Solutions. What makes this different? First, it is made from a very specific sustainable fish source so it is environmentally friendly. Second, it is a true triglyceride form which means it is not processed with
alcohol (the vast majority of fish oils are processed this way because it is cheaper), so it is not the esterized form which can be poorly absorbed and cause more stomach upset. Third, it is more cost effective since it is more concentrated and better absorbed, so you have to give less for more results. Fourth, more transparency from the company- owners can research each bottle on the website using its lot number.
The best part is convenience. We can get you started on the right product for your pet and then get you registered. Once registered, you will have access to a veterinary consultant (all are certified veterinary technicians, not someone who just got hired at Super Pet Emporium) who can answer your questions and offer guidance about the product you purchased, but also get you set so the product can be delivered directly to your home, for free, and at a discounted price.
We are always excited when we have something safe and effective to offer to our pet owners. Omega 3’s are something I have believed in for the vast majority of my career not to mention in my personal life. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. I am also happy to let you know that we have some introductory specials.
Please call the clinic at 407-239-7606 or stop by for an information packet and let us help you. Have a wonderful day, and as always, thank you for letting us help take care of your precious companions.
Dr. C. Michael Hayes
It turned out that Penny had a very resistant bacterial infection that was making it very hard for her body to heal. We were forced to go back to surgery, where Dr. Hayes cleaned the incision site up and sutured everything back together. Penny underwent a course of very strong injectable antibiotic therapy and was stuck in her cone of shame for a little while longer, but that never made her angry or sad. She just went on being the sweet cat that we all have grown to love!
We are so happy to say now that Penny is fully recovered! Her incision site healed beautifully after her antibiotic treatment, and she is headed back to life as a normal tripod kitty! She may only have three legs, but she doesn’t let that slow her down when she has the “zoomies” and plays with her family. Sometimes, we see the bad side of people when we see things like this happen to pets. However, it only brings the best out in others. We are so proud of our community of clients who donated to our Angel Fund and helped this deserving family. Penny will continue to enjoy her long and happy life thanks to the good people of the world like all of you and most of all a family who loves her very, very much!