Jessica Melman Bhatia, VMD

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Osteoarthritis (OA)
Case Study April 5, 2016      

Sam, a 13 year-old MC Golden Retriever, was presented for chronic intermittent bilateral hind limb lameness 1 year ago. On initial exam, he had pain on manipulation of both coxofemoral joints with no appreciated hind limb lameness, pain or lameness of his front limbs, neck or back. He was overweight with a Body Condition Score of 7/9. Radiographs were declined. Sam was diagnosed with suspect coxofemoral osteoarthritis (OA). Blood work was performed and within normal limits. He was started on the NSAID, Carprofen, and placed on a calorie-restricted diet for weight loss. He was also started on DermaZoo’s EpaZoo Omega-3 Liquid.

Leading DVM’s agree that “considerations for the management of OA in dogs include dietary restriction, weight loss, diets with Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, controlled activity, and use of amantadine.” (1) Omega-3 fatty acids specifically are “efficacious in decreasing pain and improving mobility in dogs as well as help with weight loss.” (2)

Sam presented 6 months later (6 months ago) and had lost weight, putting him at an ideal body weight of 5/9. The owner reported that he was overall more comfortable but on days that he had increased exercise he was slightly less comfortable. Re-check blood work was within normal limits. NSAIDS and Omega-3 Fatty Acids were continued. Sam was started on twice weekly Adequan injections for 4 weeks followed by monthly injections, and Tramadol was also started on an as needed basis.

Sam recently returned for a re-check (2 months ago). The owner reported that he was much improved. The owner was giving Carprofen, Tramadol and Omega-3 Fatty Acids daily as well monthly Adequan injections. She was also keeping him active and lean. On examination, he had muscle wasting and mild (2/6) lameness of both hind limbs and was noticeably slow to rise after sitting down on examination. Blood work was performed and again within normal limits. We started twice weekly cold laser therapy and are considering amantadine for further pain control if needed.


  1. OA & Surgery: Consideration of NSAIDs. Michael G. Conzemius, DVM, PhD, DACVS. Western States Veterinary Conference, 2016.
  2. Keys to OA Management. B. Duncan X. Lascelles, BSc, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, CertVA, DSAS(ST), DECVS, DACVS & Denis J Marcellin-Little, DEDV, DACVS, DECVS, DACVSMR. Western States Veterinary Conference, 2016.