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Old 07-14-2005, 10:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cod Liver Oil for Benny's coat

Our vet recently told me to put my cat, Benny, on cod liver oil to improve the state of his coat (it was horrible because he was a stray). i have given him a full bottle over about a month or two and i stopped adding it to his food. his coat then got very dry and flaky so i put him back on it. does anyone know if it does any harm to give cod liver oil long-term? does anyone have any other suggestions of ways to improve Benny's coat?

P.S. I groom Benny once a week and it helps a bit but does not make much impact long term.
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Old 07-14-2005, 01:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cod liver oil is high in the fat soluble vitamins A & D, which are stored in body fat, and can be toxic if the levels become too high. If you want to continue giving it, I would recommend a one week on / one week off schedule. Maybe that's too conservative -- anybody else comment?

Personally, I'd go with Omega-3 oil, which can be purchased in capsules at health food stores. Pierce the capsule and squirt on food. The brand I use doesn't have any A or D in it.

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Old 07-14-2005, 02:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What type of food are you feeding? A high quality food can make a world of difference in coats.
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Old 07-14-2005, 04:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My cat also had that "ratty stray" coat. I tried adding oils, using topical oil sprays...but what ended up helping was taking the corn out of her diet and switching her to canned food...I recently had to give her a prescription food for a few weeks that contained corn - the dandruff and scraggly look came back in just a few days, and went away again when I took her off the Rx food. I'll also note that she had the best skin and coat results on a high-fat canned food (I used Wellness). She can't tolerate the high-fat food anymore, so she's getting Innova Light, and though her dryness and dandruff is still gone, she doesn't have the same shine and gloss that the higher-fat food gave.

I'd take a look at your food and see if it has a lot of grains like corn and wheat (even canned foods can have grains in them, and even some expensive foods have a high corn content). Trying either a grain-free food or a food that uses only grains like rice, oats, and barley might help, but you'd need to experiment and see. Canned food might also do a world of good by helping keep the cat better hydrated (cats who eat dry food seldom drink enough to stay well-hydrated). If you're feeding a light or diet food, it may have inadequate fat content to keep the skin healthy.

I'm very leery of cod liver oil because it's very high in vitamins A and D which can be toxic in overdose; you might try fish body oil instead, or even flaxseed oil in a pinch. I know that there are special oil-based coat conditioners they sell that might be more palatable to a cat (often fish oils are flavored for human tastes and cats hate them).

But first, I'd try a food change, cutting out corn and wheat, looking for a higher fat content, and looking for foods with added Essential Fatty Acids. Also, giving at least half of the diet in canned food can do a lot of good. If that doesn't help, then try oil supplements (but be mindful that cod liver oil can have toxic effects in high doses, so you might want to look for fish body oils instead).
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Old 07-14-2005, 10:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would look into what kind of diet your cat is on. Is it a good quality canned? Also it could be a food allergy or intollerance. As Tim said I wouldn't do the cod liver oil long term on a daily basis as it can be quite toxic. Not more than once a week. Or for a short period of time. But if your cat is otherwise healthy and still has a bad coat it's probably his diet.
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Old 07-14-2005, 10:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Cod liver oil is MUCH better if you buy them in the bottle form.

GNC has a really decent Norwegian cod liver oil.
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