Whether it’s for people or pets, diets and nutritional fads come and go in popularity. When it comes to pet nutrition, one thing that never changes is that natural nutrients like amino acids, fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and chemical-free products are the essential ingredients to a healthy daily intake. Dogs and cats are no different than us when it comes to needing a nutrient-filled diet, and that is where orthomolecular medicine comes in.
Orthomolecular therapy for pets, also referred to as pet megavitamin therapy, is a holistic pet care approach to fighting disease and promoting preventative care. During therapy, a holistic veterinarian will take the average percentage of daily vitamins and multiply it to much higher levels depending on the needs of the pet. The compounds that are being added already exist in the body, but may be at deficient levels.
Nutrient-dense diets aim to prevent illnesses from occurring, cure diseases or manage sicknesses over time. Stopping symptoms that animals are hereditarily susceptible to and tackling pet illnesses are a few motives for introducing orthomolecular medicine.
Dr. Jennifer Taylor, DVM, CVA of Lake Side Animal Hospital of Tilton, New Hampshire says, “The premise behind orthomolecular medicine is using more natural alternatives—supplementing with vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. A lot of the ‘nutraceuticals’ such as Dasuquin fall into this category. Personally, I use a lot of Vitamin B injections when I’m doing acupuncture because it’s such an important vitamin. I’ve also used antioxidant cocktails in cancer patients (like a combination of Vitamins A, C and E). It can be very beneficial.”
Air, Water, Food and Supplements
Instead of opting for medical drugs, orthomolecular medicine for pets includes four main components—air, water, food and supplements. Utilizing naturally occurring hormones, healthy bacteria and enzymes, the orthomolecular practice can give the body the tools it needs to withstand disease and even prevent it.
It can also be viewed as a type of detoxifying daily diet; removing sugars, metals and chemically processed products from ingestion. Much like humans, animals do not benefit from processed foods that are made up of artificial ingredients. Excess amounts of sugar can also be just as damaging to our pets as it is to our own bodies. Organic fresh fruit and vegetable-based diets offer a plethora of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that animals need. Vegetables and fruits such as asparagus, green bell peppers, watermelons, peaches, blueberries, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, broccoli, carrots and zucchinis offer important sources of vitamins for your pets.
Feline Leukemia Therapy
Orthomolecular medicine for pets is not only recommended by holistic veterinarians, but also by traditional veterinarians who are purely looking to fill deficiencies in patients. With all of the vitamins and minerals that dogs and cats need, pets can find themselves deficient in certain ones, leading to a need for exceptionally wholesome diets. This manner of dieting is even used to deal with evident diseases such as Feline Leukemia. Orthomolecular medicine for pets is utilized for feline leukemia therapy by adding inflated levels of vitamin A, vitamin E and sodium ascorbate to the diet.
Atopic Dermatitis Therapy
Atopic dermatitis is known for its symptoms of skin irritation with itching and redness. Orthomolecular therapy approaches are often taken by holistic veterinarians to curb these affects. By infusing your pet’s diet with vitamin A, vitamin E, crystalline ascorbic acid and mineral selenium, it has been proven that atopic dermatitis side effects often subside. These recommended components can be considered hypoallergenic and can give the skin a break from irritation. Again, this specific method focuses on utilizing an abnormally high intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as consuming no chemical-ridden or processed foods.
Whether it be fruits, vegetables, or dietary supplements, megavitamin therapy has been proven to increase your pets’ ability to suppress unwanted symptoms such as arthritis, inflammation, lethargy and general vulnerability to diseases such as cancer, skin infections, cartilage and bone decay, and urinary tract issues. By only feasting on vitamin- and nutrient-rich ingredients, our pets are at less risk for disease and enjoy healthier and longer lives.
Every part of the animal’s body can benefit in some way from the vitamins and supplements included in orthomolecular medicine. The sooner your holistic veterinarian administers megavitamin therapy to your pet, the better off your pet will be to deter unwanted diseases and discomfort. Orthomolecular medicine does not just have to be introduced once diseases have started; it can be a way of life for your pet.
Leah McCormack is a New England native and dog lover. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City with her bachelor’s degree and started her animal care business, Winni Pups. Her published articles and features can be found in The Boston Globe, The EveryGirl, The Improper Bostonian, Mane Addicts, WGSN and Chewy!