Objective: To assess the effect of food containing high concentrations of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids and a low omega-6-omega-3 fatty acid ratio on clinical signs of osteoarthritis in dogs.
Design: Randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial.
Animals: 127 client-owned dogs with osteoarthritis in 1 or more joints from 18 privately owned veterinary clinics.
Procedures: Dogs were randomly assigned to be fed for 6 months with a typical commercial food or a test food containing a 31-fold increase in total omega-3 fatty acid content and a 34-fold decrease in omega-6-omega-3 ratio, compared with the control food. Dog owners completed a questionnaire about their dog's arthritic condition, and investigators performed a physical examination and collected samples for a CBC and serum biochemical analyses (including measurement of fatty acids concentration) at the onset of the study and at 6, 12, and 24 weeks afterward.
Results: Dogs fed the test food had a significantly higher serum concentration of total omega-3 fatty acids and a significantly lower serum concentration of arachidonic acid at 6, 12, and 24 weeks. According to owners, dogs fed the test food had a significantly improved ability to rise from a resting position and play at 6 weeks and improved ability to walk at 12 and 24 weeks, compared with control dogs.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Ingestion of the test food raised blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids and appeared to improve the arthritic condition in pet dogs with osteoarthritis.