Nutraceuticals are prescribed in veterinary medicine as adjuncts to other treatments in a wide range of disease states including stress, organ disease, blood derangements, cancer, and to augment healing from injury, surgery or trauma. They are generally taken orally but can also be used topically or by injection.

The term nutraceutical or nutriceutical, is a compound of the terms nutrition and pharmaceutical as both terms are considered relevant in describing mechanisms and indications of their use. They are primarily derived from food sources and used in isolation in high potency to supplement deficiencies likely to be encountered in disease states either from failure to produce sufficient amounts during stressful periods or a total lack of these compounds in the diet. Using these products as isolates and concentrates more closely resembles a pharmaceutical product compared to nutritional medicine that utilises whole fresh foods.

They include but are not restricted to, vitamins, enzymes, electrolytes, herbs, co-factors and amino acids. Nutraceuticals are common additives to commercial dry foods.

Precautions when prescribing:

It is  generally accepted and often demonstrated that nutraceuticals have greatest effect in cases of deficiency and least effect during optimal health. They are, therefore, not often used for prolonged periods without indication of ongoing disease, stress or dysfunction.

Controversy as to their use has arisen where well meaning owners supplement so that animals are receiving supplements  beyond their requirements for a prolonged period, and disease states  occur. This can occur in high performance animals where the owner wishes for a superlative performance. More is usually not better.

Samples of Scientific References:

1. Benabdeljelil K, Ryadi A, Jensen LS. 1990 "Effect of dietary ascorbic acid supplementation on the performance of brown-egg layers and egg quality" Anim Feed Sci Technol 30: 301-311.

2. Cachaldora P, García-Rebollar P, Alvarez C, De Blas JC 2008, Méndez J. Effect of type and level of basal fat and level of fish oil supplementation on yolk fat composition and n-3 fatty acids deposition efficiency in laying hens. Anim Feed Sci Technol 141:104-114

3. Center SA. 2004 Metabolic, antioxidant, nutraceutical, probiotic, and herbal therapies relating to the management of hepatobiliary disorders. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice 34:67-172.

4. Farrell DJ. 1998 Enrichment of hen eggs with n23 long-chain fatty acids and evaluation of enriched eggs in humans1–3. Am J Clin Nutr 68:538–544.

5. Foster CVL, Harris RC, Snow DH 1998 The effect of oral L carnitine supplementation on the muscle and plasma concentrations in the thoroughbred horse Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Physiology, 91, 4: 827-835

6. Gompf RE 2005. Nutritional and herbal therapies in the treatment of heart disease in cats and dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 41:355-367.

7. Guo Y, Chen S, Xia Z, Yuan J 2004. Effects of different types of polyunsaturated fatty acids on immune function and PGE2 synthesis by peripheral blood leukocytes of laying hens. Anim Feed Sci Technol 116:249-258.

8. Hatamoto LK, Baptista Sobrinho CA, Nichi M, et al. 2006 Effects of dexamethasone treatment (to mimic stress) and Vitamin E oral supplementation on the spermiogram and on seminal plasma spontaneous lipid peroxidation and antioxidant enzyme activities in dogs. Theriogenology66:1610-1614.

9. Hayek, Micheal G, Massimino, Stefan P. Ceddia Michael A. 2004 Modulation of immune response through nutraceutical interventions: implications for canine and feline health : Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 34, 1: 229-247

10. Hazewinkel HAW, Tryfonidou MA. Vitamin D3 metabolism in dogs.2002 Mol Cell Endocrinol 197:23-33.




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