Effect of increasing dietary antioxidants on concentrations of vitamin E and total alkenals in serum of dogs and cats

Vet Ther. Fall 2000;1(4):264-72.


Oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids has been implicated as a contributor to aging and various chronic diseases. The presence of total alkenals (malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxyalkenals) in blood or tissues is an indicator of lipid peroxidation, which may be a result of in vivo oxidative reactions. Vitamin E functions as a chain-breaking antioxidant that prevents propagation of free radical damage in biologic membranes. This 6-week dose-titration study was conducted to assess the effect of selected dietary vitamin E levels on byproducts of in vivo oxidative reactions in dogs and cats. Forty healthy adult dogs and 40 healthy adult cats were assigned to four equal groups per species in a complete random block design. A control group for both dogs and cats was fed dry food containing 153 and 98 IU vitamin E/kg of food (as fed), respectively. Canine and feline treatment groups were fed the same basal dry food with vitamin E added at three different concentrations. The total analyzed dietary vitamin E levels for the canine treatment groups were 293, 445, and 598 IU vitamin E/kg of food, as fed. The total analyzed dietary vitamin E levels for the feline treatment groups were 248, 384, and 540 IU vitamin E/kg of food, as fed. Increasing levels of dietary vitamin E in dog and cat foods caused significant increases in serum vitamin E levels compared with baseline values. Although all treatments increased concentrations of vitamin E in serum, all were not effective at decreasing serum alkenal levels. The thresholds for significant reduction of serum alkenal concentrations in dogs and cats were 445 and 540 IU vitamin E/kg of food, respectively, on an as-fed basis. The results of this study show that normal dogs and cats experience oxidative damage and that increased dietary levels of antioxidants may decrease in vivo measures of oxidative damage.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Cats
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin E / blood*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E