DOGS AND ANTIOXIDANTS
In dogs, a deficiency of Vitamin E results in blindness, similar to senile macular degeneration in humans (Loew 1987). Vitamin C has been shown to be beneficial to racing sled dogs on high fat diets and has been reported to be of benefit in dogs with arthritis and/or hip dysplasia. Cleft palates, primarily a genetic disorder in dogs, can be aggravated by either a deficiency of Riboflavin or Vitamin A. The hair coat of Black Labrador dogs turning brown has been demonstrated to be a copper deficiency caused by zinc addition to the diet without a corresponding increase in copper supplementation.
Vitamin A Skin, eye, bone, reproduction, growth.
Vitamin C : Stress (spares Vit. E), bone, cartilage.
Vitamin E : Stress, eye integrity, muscle integrity, reproduction, prevents oxidation of fat.
Riboflavin : Stress, eye function, skin integrity, muscle strength of hind quarters.
Folic Acid : Prevents birth defects associated with the nervous system.
Zinc : Stress, immune response, wound healing.
Manganese : Bone, tendon, muscle, birth weight.
Copper : Immune response, hair color, reproduction.
Selenium : Stress, muscle integrity, reproduction.
THE SCIENCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Stress, disease, chemical pollutants, solar radiation and/or nutritional deficiencies of the antioxidant vitamins and minerals result in an increased generation of Oxygen, free radicals. Oxygen, free radical also known as “reactive oxygen metabolites” (ROM) can be extremely damaging to the tissues, especially membranes and cell wall structures. ROM are produced endogenously by normal metabolic processes, and are controlled by the two preventive or chain breaking systems. When these protective systems are overwhelmed or are insufficient to provide physiological control, a self-perpetuating chain reaction begins to produce ROM and their toxic by-products, resulting in widespread tissue damage and even death i.e. malignant hyperthermia.
Oxygen, free radicals are recently gaining much attention in the medical community. They have been incriminated as contributing factors to a wide range of diseases in man from inflicting damage on DNA and other cellular structures which is an initiating step in cancer development, to impairing the immune system. The January 5, 1994 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E reduced the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers. In another study in Linxian, China antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation in older patients significantly reduced the incidence of nuclear cataracts.