Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate
Evidence based Joint Supplements for pets
• Use early in course of disease even as preventative in athletes & high risk dogs
• Carefully check products as they are NOT FDA regulated = no proof of effectiveness
• They can delay the use of Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
• No food contains enough of these compounds to be therapeutic
• Pet treats contain miniscule amounts of necessary compounds
• Great info at consumerlab.com (a human website that has some pet products related)
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 Mild 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 may be reduced after desired effect is seen.
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
1) They should be used EARLY before damage has occurred (after any joint surgery, any diagnosed arthritis condition, and in high risk dogs e.g. overweight, athletes and breeds at risk for hip dysplasia and other developmental orthopedic diseases.
2) These safe products are recommended y 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 the Dietary Supplement Health & Effectiveness Act (DSHEA) labeling they have to be safe but not necessarily effective or even pure (until recent 2008 ruling).
5) By law supplements cannot be added to pet food to a level that would be therapeutic so that, although it is allowable for food to contain Glucosamine and other supplements, additional supplementation would have to occur to be effective.
6) To date no studies have been done using live pets (all studies have been done with cartilage cells) to prove that these supplements affect lameness scores. Laboratory tests do show (using Nutramax patented products) that they reduce inflammation and slow progression of joint progression of joint cartilage degeneration.
7) Quality control was a significant issue in a study done in 2001 (84% of products did not contain what they said they did) Even with purity standards, quality control could continue to be an issue with few standards and very little effort to police the multitude of products (both veterinary & human).
8) Appropriate doses of BOTH Glucosamine & Chondrotin Sulfate are very important to achieve success in pets according to several studies.
9) Used alone at appropriate doses or in conjunction with high levels of EPA (one of the fish oils) at 40mg/kg, 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.
10) All studies done in pets have been done with the patented ingredients that are found in only one manufacturer’s products (Nutramax).
Our recommendation DASUquin®
Based on these facts (supported by the studies listed below) our recommendations is to give DASUquin to dogs and cats early in the course of Osteoarthritis (OA) in addition to getting them to their ideal weight and continuing a good supportive exercise program. More information can be found on the excellent consumerlabs.com site but pertains primarily to people and there may be some species specific differences.
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
Rehabilitation in Veterinary Medicine Sherman Canapp et al Chicago Il April 2008
International Veterinary Rehabilitation Symposium Dr Julie Churchill DVM DACVIM Aug 2008
Practical Small Animal Nutrition Dr Kathyrn Michels DVM MS DACVN Lake Delton Feb 2009