Background The aim of the study was to discover the extent of use of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in veterinary practice, conditions used in, preparation of EFA supplement used and rationale for their use and to investigate the awareness of the oxidation of some commercial fish oil supplement preparations.
Methods A web-based questionnaire was distributed via email to a dermatology list server and posted to veterinary Facebook groups with questions relating to the use of EFAs, supplement choice, conditions used in, the level of importance of various factors regarding their use and awareness of their oxidation.
Results There were 309 responses from 32 countries. EFA supplements were used by 92.2 per cent of respondents. The most commonly used preparation of EFA supplementation was veterinary oral supplements (75.1 per cent), followed by veterinary diets (14.4 per cent), shop bought fish oil supplements (7.7 per cent), enhancing the diet with oily fish (2.5 per cent) and finally using a commercial pet food (0.3 per cent). Only 46.3 per cent of respondents who used them were aware of the oxidation of EFAs. Veterinary oral supplements were perceived to be the best preserved, followed by veterinary diets and lastly commercial fish oil supplements.
Conclusion A large number of respondents advised the use of EFAs for veterinary dermatological conditions but less than 50 per cent were aware of the potential for EFAs to oxidise.
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