Zinc is an essential mineral for cats and dogs that plays a key role in many bodily functions. It is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, taste, smell, and the synthesis of DNA and proteins. Zinc also helps with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
In dogs and cats, zinc is absorbed from the small intestine and is transported to the liver, where it is stored. From the liver, zinc is released into the bloodstream as needed and is transported to various tissues and organs in the body. Zinc plays an important role in various biological processes in dogs and cats, including muscle, heart, and liver function. In muscles, zinc is involved in the regulation of protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. It also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, which are important sources of energy for muscle function.
In the heart, zinc is involved in the regulation of cardiac function and the maintenance of the structural integrity of cardiac cells. It also plays a role in the metabolism of fatty acids, which are an important energy source for the heart.
In the liver, zinc is involved in the metabolism of various nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It is also essential for the synthesis of several enzymes involved in liver function, including those responsible for detoxification and the production of bile.
Overall, zinc is an important micronutrient for the optimal functioning of the muscles, heart, and liver in dogs and cats. Adequate intake of zinc through a balanced diet is important to maintain optimal health in these animals.
The body has a number of mechanisms in place to regulate zinc metabolism. For example, the absorption of zinc from the small intestine can be increased or decreased based on the body’s needs. In addition, the amount of zinc Factors that can affect zinc metabolism in dogs and cats include age, diet, and health status. For example, older animals may have decreased zinc absorption and increased zinc excretion, while animals with certain health conditions such as kidney disease may have abnormal zinc metabolism that is excreted in the urine and faeces can be regulated to maintain optimal levels in the body.
Cats and dogs require a certain amount of zinc in their diet to maintain good health. Zinc deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems, including hair loss, skin lesions, poor appetite, and impaired immune function. On the other hand, too much zinc can be toxic and cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and other symptoms. It is important to maintain a proper balance of zinc in the diet to ensure optimal health.
There are several sources of zinc for cats and dogs, including meat, poultry, fish, and grains. Zinc can also be found in some vegetables, such as beans and peas. Commercial pet food is often fortified with zinc to ensure that pets receive enough of this important mineral. However, it is important to note that the bioavailability of zinc from plant sources may be lower than that from animal sources.
In addition to diet, certain medical conditions can affect zinc levels in cats and dogs. For example, cats with chronic kidney disease may have reduced zinc absorption, while dogs with pancreatitis may have increased zinc excretion. In these cases, a veterinarian may recommend a zinc supplement to ensure that the pet is getting enough of this important mineral.
There are several signs that a cat or dog may be lacking in zinc. These include hair loss, dry and flaky skin, poor appetite, and decreased immune function. If you suspect that your pet is not getting enough zinc, it is important to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
In conclusion, zinc is an essential mineral for cats and dogs that plays a key role in many bodily functions. It is important to ensure that pets receive enough zinc in their diet to maintain good health, and a veterinarian can help determine the appropriate amount of zinc for individual pets based on age, size, and medical history. It is important to ensure that dogs and cats are getting an adequate intake of zinc to support normal metabolism and overall health. This can be achieved through a balanced diet that includes a variety of high-quality dog or cat food, as well as supplements if needed.
Article contributed by Professor Simon Davies, Nutrition Editor, International Petfood