What are some symptoms exhibited in a cat suffering from a fat or fatty acid deficiency?
Not all fats are bad and, in fact, the “good” fats (omega-3 fatty acids) enhance energy production in your dog or cat, so they actually create less fat.
Omega-6 and omega-3 fats derive their names from their chemical composition. It’s important to realize that your pet requires both omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) and omega-6 (linoleic) acids in order to thrive, but it’s very important to balance them. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper ratio to best enhance your cat’s well being.
Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent dry skin, and their anti-inflammatory properties can relieve the pain of arthritis, provide relief for allergies (omega 3s create an immune barrier in the skin) and slow the progression of kidney and heart disease and some kinds of cancers in cats. A deficiency of omega-3 fats in your cat or dog can result in stunted growth, eye problems, muscle weakness and lack of motor coordination, as well as immune system dysfunction.
Fish, such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies and herring are the best sources, while flaxseed oil is less efficient. Remember, cats are strict meat-eaters, so they can’t digest and utilize plant material efficiently.
NOTE: When cooked at the high temperatures necessary to manufacture cat food, so your cat may still need supplementation. Discuss it with your veterinarian if your cat is taking blood thinners, because omega 3s control clotting.
If your dog or cat is eating a typical commercial pet food diet, it’s likely she is getting too much omega-6 fats rather than too little.
However, a lack of omega-6 fats in your pet’s diet will result in poor overall development and a failure to gain weight. An omega-6 deficiency can compromise your pet’s immune system and cause liver and kidney degeneration.
Other signs might include behavioral problems, poor wound healing and reproductive problems in both males and females.