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Diet and skin disease in dogs and cats.

An optimal diet is vital for maintaining healthy skin and coat. Nutritional deficiencies are now uncommon due to widespread feeding of complete and balanced pet foods. Deficiencies of zinc, omega- 6 fatty acids and some vitamins are still occasionally reported as a cause of skin pathology in pets. Supraphysiologic doses of vitamin A have been used in the management of vitamin A-responsive dermatosis in Cocker spaniels. Other keratinisation defects and seborrhoeic conditions may also respond to vitamin A. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over study recently demonstrated a clear benefit of high dose omega-3 fatty acids in the management of pruritus. Some data also suggests that a specific omega 6: 3 ratio may benefit pets with inflammatory diseases.