Supplemental support for senior animals

Aging is not a disease, but it comes with a number of symptoms that can be reduced with the right supplemental support.

Aging comes with less than perfect immunity, reduced nutrient absorption, and the cumulative effects of a lifetime’s exposure to oxidative stressors. Combined, these increase the risk of age-related diseases in dogs and cats, including diabetes mellitus, thyroid disorders, obesity, arthritis, cancer, cognitive dysfunction, and Cushing’s disease in dogs.

With aging, nutrients in food are not ideally absorbed, so adding a safe quantity of necessary vitamins and minerals is essential to health. These include beta-carotene, vitamins C, D, E and the Bs, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and a balanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus, among others.

Certain antioxidants and plant extracts also benefit the aging brain and body:

Huperzine, or selagine: protects mitochondria and has neuroprotective effects, improving alertness and energy.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM-e): a co-substrate used in the production of nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids; has anti-inflammatory effects and supports the formation of joint cartilage.

Alpha lipoic acid: a potent antioxidant found in spinach, broccoli and liver. Restores vitamins C and E to their functional states. Used for diabetic neuropathies, hepatic and heart disease, and is a heavy metal chelator.

Aging cannot be avoided, but complementing your patients’ diets with supplemental support including vitamins, minerals and natural plant extracts will help them fight the ever-present free radical damage occurring in their bodies, and allow them to lead longer, healthier lives.

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Dr. Carmen Colitz earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Comparative and Experimental Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1993 and 1996, respectively. She became a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist in 1999. Dr. Colitz worked on the faculties of Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and The Ohio State University’s veterinary teaching hospital. She has written or co-written over 60 peer-reviewed publications and 19 book chapters, and is past president of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. In 2006, in collaboration with others, Dr. Colitz developed a vision supplement for canines called Ocu-GLO Rx™ (