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ALL ABOUT ZINC



The mineral zinc plays an important role in many substances in the canine body, including enzymes, proteins, and hormone generation. Zinc is also important for immune system function and thyroid function. It is an important mineral for healthy skin and wound healing. Zinc is a crucial trace mineral essential for a dog's health and well-being. Though only needed in small quantities, it is vital for several physiological processes. Zinc aids in the development and function of immune cells, contributing to a strong immune response that helps your dog combat infections. Additionally, zinc is necessary for proper food metabolism.

Zinc plays a crucial role in maintaining proper skin integrity and health in dogs. It is essential for producing collagen, a protein that supports skin structure, aids in wound healing, and enhances coat quality. Signs of zinc deficiency in your dog include dryness, flakiness, and poor coat condition.

Additionally, zinc is vital for the production of antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

A deficiency in zinc can affect your dog's sense of taste and smell, often leading to a loss of appetite. While appetite loss can be a symptom of many diseases, if it occurs alongside other signs of zinc deficiency, you should consult your veterinarian.

Zinc is also essential for all aspects of your dog’s reproductive health, including the proper development of reproductive organs, fertility, and normal embryo growth. It supports skeletal growth, immune system maturation, and the overall health of both breeders and their puppies.

Although only needed in trace amounts, zinc is a vital component of your dog's diet. Ensuring a nutritionally balanced diet will provide your dog with sufficient zinc for optimal health and proper bodily functions.




Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency -


Zinc deficiency in dogs can lead to various clinical signs and health issues due to its essential role in numerous physiological processes. However, it often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms can mimic other common ailments. Clinical signs of zinc deficiency in dogs include:

Dermatitis and Skin Issues: One of the hallmark signs of zinc deficiency is skin problems. This can manifest as dry, flaky, crusty, or red skin, often accompanied by itching and discomfort. Lesions may develop around the mouth, nose, and eyes.

Poor Coat Quality: A zinc-deficient dog may have a dull, rough coat that lacks the usual luster and shine. The coat may become thin and brittle.

Delayed Wound Healing: Zinc is important for wound healing and tissue repair. Dogs with zinc deficiency may experience delayed wound healing, with wounds taking longer to close and heal properly.

Gastrointestinal Issues: Zinc deficiency can lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and poor appetite. These signs are often misinterpreted as food allergies.

Altered Sense of Taste and Smell: Dogs with zinc deficiency may show changes in their sense of taste and smell, resulting in a reduced appetite and disinterest in food.

Decreased Immune Function: Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system. Deficient dogs may have weakened immune function and be more susceptible to infections.

Growth Abnormalities: Puppies with zinc deficiency can experience growth abnormalities, including stunted growth and delayed development.

Reproductive Issues: Zinc deficiency can affect the reproductive system, leading to issues with fertility, poor reproductive performance, and complications during pregnancy.

Neurological Symptoms: In severe cases, zinc deficiency can lead to neurological symptoms, including weakness, tremors, seizures, and difficulty walking.

The severity and presentation of clinical signs can vary. If you suspect your dog may be experiencing zinc deficiency based on observed symptoms, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention. A veterinarian can perform a thorough examination, review your dog's medical history, conduct appropriate diagnostic tests, and recommend a suitable treatment plan.

Not all dogs will exhibit the clinical signs listed above, and some may show no signs until severe symptoms, such as seizures, occur. Regular monitoring of your dog's health with your veterinarian is critical to detect mineral deficiencies before clinical signs appear. Annual bloodwork and a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis can help determine the zinc levels in your dog’s body.





Diet


The healthiest diet for both dogs and cats is to feed a biologically appropriate raw diet, as nature intended. Variety is always key, as this ensures all nutrients are being fed. Zinc can be found in poultry, beef, lamb and pork. It can also be found in kidney and liver. If dog or cat are not intolerant to dairy kefir and goat's milk contain low traces. Broccoli and spinach are two veggies that could be added to the percentage of veg. Green & Blue lipped mussels and oysters. Lastly Irish Kelp is also a great source of zinc and iodine.





Substances and Nutrients That Inhibit Zinc Absorption

Phytates such as whole grains, legumes nuts and seeds can bind to the digesruve tract and form insoluable complexes that are not easily absorbed by the body. This can decrease the bioavailability of zinc from plant sources.

Supplement intake also may interfere with zinc absorption. For instance feeding too much calcium can interfere with how well the body absorbs zinc. Too much iron will also effect how well the body absorbs zinc. Too much copper will effect the absorption of zinc and vice versa. And finally too much fibre will also decrease zinc absorption.

High doses of zinc can cause dogs and cats to vomit. Dogs and cats only require small amounts of zinc, high doses can lead to toxicity.

A single dose of 225-450mg can easily make a dog vomit. Doses above 900mg can become lethal. Overdosing this supplement may affect the kidney, liver, gastrointestinal tissues and the production of blood and other cells throughout the body.Overdosing zinc for a long period of time can cause anemia.


Sympthoms of Zinc toxicity

Signs and sympthoms can vary depending on the severity. These may include vomiting, diarreoah, lethargy, loss of appetite and abdominal pain. Jaundice and difficulty urinating may also be two sympthoms. In severe cases there might be organ failure and also possible death.



If you suspect your dog has ingested a zinc-containing object or supplement, it is imperative to contact immediately veterinary care. Early intervention can prevent the development of severe symptoms and complications associated with zinc toxicity.

Zinc Supplements

Zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, and chelated forms of zinc, such as proteinates, amino acid chelates, and polysaccharide complexes, are among the zinc supplements used in commercial meals. Zinc oxide and zinc sulfate are less bioavailable than chelated zinc; these less expensive forms of zinc might interact with dietary lipids, potentially generating rancid fats.


A very important point to remember is that you can feed fresh food ingredients instead of supplementing with zinc. If your vet feels that added supplements are needed always ensure that they are chelated zinc as the body absorbs this mineral better than inorganic synthetic zinc.




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