Articles

Cats + Alternative Therapies

  • An antioxidant is any compound, whether vitamin, mineral, nutraceutical, or herb that protects against cellular damage from reactive oxygen species, including free radicals, single oxygen atoms and hydrogen peroxide. Some of the more well-known antioxidants include ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), beta-carotene, and enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase.

  • Calcium is a major structural component of bones and teeth, and is an essential dietary mineral. Various forms of calcium are available for supplementation.

  • Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan (GAGS - see separate article found in this series) found in cartilage. It promotes water retention and elasticity in the cartilage, helping to ensure adequate shock absorption and adequate nourishment of the tissues that line the joint.

  • Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10, CoQ10 or ubiquinone) exists in abundance in every human and animal body. It is an essential component of the mitochondria, which are the parts of the cell that produce energy from oxygen.

  • Most omega fatty acid supplements are made primarily from fish oil or flax seed oil (see the separate handouts on these products in this series), although some products may include other oils such as evening primrose oil, hemp oil, or borage oil.

  • Glucosamine is arguably the most commonly used nutraceutical in the world. Medical and veterinary practitioners who avoid alternative medicine in general will still frequently prescribe glucosamine, usually as treatment for osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.

  • The term 'nutraceutical' was coined to represent compounds found in food and herbs that are not technically considered nutrients such as vitamins or minerals, but which may have a profoundly beneficial impact on the health of the body. Common examples of nutraceuticals include glucosamine, used in the treatment of arthritic conditions of dogs and cats, and antioxidant compounds that help in the prevention of cancer.

  • The first inclination of some people when feeding a home-prepared diet to their pet is to simply feed the animal leftovers of what they are eating. It should be realized, however, that the nutritional needs of dogs, cats and humans differ.

  • A supplement is a concentrated nutrient source that is added to a basic diet for either a nutritional or a therapeutic benefit. There is a great deal of confusion that surrounds the terminology of food additives, and sometimes terms are used interchangeably.

  • The underlying philosophy of all alternative medical therapies is the 'holistic' approach, in which the patient is treated as a whole being rather than as a collection of organs and parts. The patient is treated as an individual rather than as a diagnosis, and the treatment is determined by the way that he or she is responding to illness.

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