Evidence based Joint Supplements for Pets

Highlights:

1) Carefully check products as they are NOT FDA regulated = no proof of effectiveness  consumerlab.com is a great resource.

2)   They can delay or reduce the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) see reference below.

3)  No food contains enough of these compounds to be therapeutic.


4)   Almost all pet treats contain only minute amounts of active ingredients. 

Background: Joint supplements are commonly available for pets online, at pet stores and pet supermarkets, and are found in other forms, added to food and even in treats. Considerable confusion exists as far as effectiveness & appropriate form/dose as they are not FDA regulated drugs.

Reason for using/Desired effects: Pain relief for osteoarthritis (OA), inhibits joint inflammation, cartilage support, and prevent degradation of cartilage over time.

Active Ingredients: Glucosamine HCL, Na Chondrotin sulfate, Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU) with or without MSM.

Dose: depends upon product but generally 900 mg of Glucosamine HCl, 350 mg Chondroitin Sulfate and 90 mg ASU for a 60 lb dog. May take 6 to 8 weeks to see any effect and dose may be reduced after desired effect is seen (which reduces cost considerably).

Side effects: No long term or short term side effects have been found.

For maximum effect: Start early in course of disease or as prevention.

10 Important Things You Need to Know

1) They should be used EARLY before damage has occurred (after any joint surgery, any diagnosed arthritis condition, and in high risk dogs  (obesity, athletes,breeds at risk for hip & elbow dysplasia etc).

2) These safe products are recommended by most board certified veterinary orthopedic surgeons and can be used with any other medications.

3) Glucosamine is generally thought to be a “building block” for joint cartilage and Chondroitin sulfate an anti-inflammatory. Avocado Soybean Unsaponifiable (ASU) a fat extract found in only one manufacturer’s product (Nutramax) is doubly synergistic and reduces inflammation.

4) By law glucosamine cannot be added to pet food to a level that would be therapeutic. However, it is allowable for food to contain Glucosamine at sub therapeutic levels. Adding Perna Green lipped Mussel GLM to food is the only way around this… otherwise supplementation is necessary.

5) A brand new study using live pets (all studies have been done with cartilage cells) prove that DASUquin affects lameness scores similar or better than non steroidal drugs like Rimadyl (r). Laboratory tests show (using Nutramax patented products) that they reduce inflammation and slow progression of  joint disease and joint cartilage degeneration.

6) Quality control is a significant issue. In a study done in 2001 84% of products did not contain what they said they did.

7) Appropriate doses of BOTH Glucosamine & Chondrotin Sulfate as well as Avacado Unsuponafiable (ASU) and PGLM are very important to achieve success in pets according to several studies.

8) Used alone at appropriate doses or in conjunction with high levels of EPA (one of the fish oils) at 20mg/lb, the combination of Glucosamine, CS, and ASU can be as effective as non-steroidal inflammatory drug (like Rimadyl® or Previcox®) if used in the early course of disease.

9) All studies done in pets for Glucosamine/Chondrotin Sulfate (LMW=low molecular weight) have been done with the patented ingredients that are found in only one manufacturer’s products (Nutramax)

Our recommendations  DASUquin® or Glyco-Flex® or Royal Canin Joint Mobility (regular or large breed) for dogs or Royal Canin Mobility JS for cats.

Note: we also advocate 20mg of EPA for dogs with active arthritis (or simply as possible prevention or anti-inflammatory and for other disease conditions)

The Royal Canin foods mentioned here contain this amount already. Don’t forget the important factors of ideal weight and a good supportive exercise program.

Evaluation of a Therapeutic Diet for Feline Degenerative Disease Duncan Lascelles J Vet Intern Med 2010, 1-9  Practical Small Animal Nutrition Dr Kathryn Michels DVM MS DACVN Lake Delton Feb 2009  Rehabilitation in Veterinary Medicine Sherman Canapp et al Chicago IL April 2008
International Veterinary Rehabilitation Symposium Dr Julie Churchill DVM DACVIM Aug 2008  Using Nutrition to Enhance Patient Care   Dr Lisa Freeman DVM DACVN Madison WI Oct 2007
Hills Symposium of Evidence Based Nutrition Dr Phil Roudebush DVM DACVIM et al Nov 2007
UW Orthopedic Considerations for the Canine Athlete Dr Paul Manley DVM DACVS et al Nov 2007