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Failure of a dietary model to affect markers of inflammation in domestic cats

Adronie Verbrugghe12*, Geert PJ Janssens1, Hannelore Van de Velde1, Eric Cox3, Stefaan De Smet4, Bruno Vlaeminck4 and Myriam Hesta1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Heidestraat 19, Merelbeke B-9820, Belgium

2 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON N1G 4 V2, Canada

3 Laboratory of Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke B-9820, Belgium

4 Laboratory for Animal Nutrition and Animal Product Quality, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Proefhoevestraat 10, Melle B-9090, Belgium

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:104  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-104

Published: 4 May 2014



Oxidative stress and inflammation can be altered by dietary factors in various species. However, little data are available in true carnivorous species such as domestic cats. As numerous anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative additives become available and might be of use in cats with chronic low-grade inflammatory diseases, the current study aimed to develop a model of diet-induced inflammation by use of two opposite diets. It was hypothesized that a high fat diet enhanced in n-6 PUFA and with lower concentrations of antioxidants would evoke inflammation and oxidative stress in domestic cats.


Sixteen healthy adult cats were allocated to two groups. One group received a moderate fat diet, containing pork lard and salmon oil (AA:(EPA + DHA) ratio 0.19) (MFn-3), while the other group was fed a high fat diet, containing pork lard and chicken fat (AA:(EPA + DHA) ratio 2.06) (HFn-6) for 12 weeks. Prior to and 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks after starting the testing period, blood samples were collected. Erythrocytic fatty acid profile showed clear alterations in accordance to the dietary fatty acid profile. Serum thiobarbituric acid reactive substances was higher when fed MFn-3 compared to the HFn-6, suggesting augmented oxidative stress. This was associated with a reduced serum vitamin E status, as serum α-tocopherol concentrations were lower with MFn-3, even with higher dietary levels of vitamin E. Serum cytokine and serum amyloid A concentrations were not influenced by diet.


These results point towards a resistance of cats to develop dietary fat-induced inflammation, but also suggest a high susceptibility to oxidative stress when fed a fish oil-supplemented diet even with moderate fat level and additional vitamin E.

Dietary fat; Feline; Lipid peroxidation; Peroxidisability index; Polyunsaturated fatty acids; Vitamin E status