Antioxidants help to prevent cell damage caused by "free radicals." Free radicals are produced through normal chemical reactions in the body as well as outside influences such as pollution and radiation. They can cause tissue damage and have a negative effect on the immune system.
There are many types of antioxidants, including some vitamins and minerals. Lipoic acid is an antioxidant that is normally produced by the body. It is available as a supplement for humans and its effect on humans, dogs, and rats has been studied. The safety of lipoic acid in cats was studied by researchers at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. It was found that lipoic acid is 10 times more toxic in cats than reported in humans, dogs, or rats, and causes toxicity at doses that are recognized as safe for dogs. Signs of toxicity of lipoic acid in cats included hypersalivation (drooling), irritability, ataxia (incoordination and loss of balance), and loss of appetite. It also caused severe liver damage in some cats.
Comments from our Veterinary Staff:
This article highlights the fact that the anatomy and physiology of different species of animals varies markedly. A person cannot assume that what is good for one species of animal is also good for another. Before giving any medication, nutraceutical, or supplement to your pet, check the label to make sure it is approved for that species. Also, check with your veterinarian before giving any type of therapy, especially if your pet is young, old, has medical problems, or is on other medication, a special diet, or supplements.