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MacuGuard Ocular Support

Species: Dog
Breed: Poodle Toy
Age: 11-15 years
My 13 year-old, 16lbs, Poodle toy is on the Royal Canin Satiety Support, as recommended by her vet, because she’s a little overweight. She is also taking Dasuquin with MSM (by Nutramax), Canine Plus Senior (by Vetri-Science), and Omega 3 6 9 (by Vetri-Science), as recommended by a different vet. For the past years we noticed her eyes were getting cloudy, we took her to the vet and she said it was a normal aging condition, no signs of cataract, and that there was nothing we could do to reverse this. But after an online search, I started giving her MacuGuard with Astaxanthin (by Life Extension), a supplement for humans that seemed to also help dogs. Since I started giving my dog the MacuGuard (1 softgel per day), we noticed her eyes are not as cloudy as they used to be, and we assumed the supplement was working. But now I’ve came across some conflicting information. Some people say that black currants may be toxic to dogs. Researching online, I found out something like “American currants are raisings and thu, toxic, while European currants are berries and actually very healthy to a dog.” Indeed, I found that some dry foods have black currant in their formulas. Is this accurate? I didn’t want to stop giving her the supplement as I noticed an improvement in the color of her eyes, but I am afraid the supplement, which uses European black currant extract, may cause her any harm. Also, the dosage I am giving (one softgel a day for a 16lbs dog) may be too much?
Thanks in advance, below you can find the supplement facts:

MacuGuard™ Ocular Support with Astaxanthin

http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item01886/MacuGuard-Ocular-Support-with-Astaxanthin.html?source=search&key=macuguard

Supplement Facts
Serving Size 1 softgel
Servings Per Container 60
Amount Per Serving

MacuGuard™ Carotenoid Phospholipid Blend Phospholipids, marigold extract (flower) [providing 10 mg free lutein, 4 mg meso-zeaxanthin & trans-zeaxanthin]
145 mg

Natural Astaxanthin (from CO2 extract of Haematococcus pluvialis algae)
6 mg

C3G (Cyanidin-3-glucoside) [from European black currant extract (fruit)]
2.2 mg

Other ingredients: soy lecithin, gelatin, safflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, glycerin, sunflower oil, soy fatty acids, purified water, beeswax, potato maltodextrin, annatto color.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

If this were my patient I would not be recommending using this supplement. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that the symptoms that your dog has are not the ones that this medication is meant to treat. It is meant for humans who have a condition called macular degeneration. The macula is a part of the eye that sits on the retina at the back of the eye. You can't see it when you are looking at your dog's eyes. If you are seeing a cloudiness then it is not the macula that you are seeing. It is likely that your dog has a very benign condition called nuclear sclerosis. It's quite common, not painful, and if there is any vision loss associated with it it's really minor.

In my opinion, if there was improvement in the cloudiness of the eyes, it would not be because of this medication.

I did a thorough search of medical research articles and I couldn't find any that show that this type of medication can be effective in dogs.

There are thousands of supplements and miracle cures out there that have loads of online testimonials but very little proof. My thought is that if one of these supplements really did work, then one of the major pharmaceutical companies would take note of this fact and develop it into a product that they can make big profit on. Because nuclear sclerosis (cloudiness in the eyes) is really common, if there was a product that actually worked to clear it up, vets all over the place would be recommending it and selling it.

So, with all of that being said, I'll answer your question about the European currant extract that is in the product. European currants are not based on grapes and as such are not toxic. But, US currants are grape based and can be toxic.

Most likely this product is not harmful, although we can't say for sure as no canine studies have been done.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.