Joint aids can be given to your dog as an aid to reduce the signs and symptoms of canine osteoarthritis. Their purpose is to help restore the joint to good health by improving the consistency of the joint fluid and encouraging regeneration of the cartilage.
Some products commonly used in the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis include combinations of the following:
* Chondroprotective agents. These will slow down cartilage degeneration and may also help healing. Products include glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulphate and polysulphated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG).
* Anti-inflammatories. Products that reduce inflammation include methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), particularly omega-3 fatty acids.
* Antioxidants. Free radicals have been implicated in osteoarthritic damage. Vitamins C and E, some nutrients — zinc and selenium to name a couple — and many herbs may help neutralise these free radicals.
Popular Supplements for Dogs
There are a number of branded supplements available. You’ll find that most contain similar ingredients. Some of the more popular ones are described below:
* Supleneo flex® is a daily supplement, which contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and mixed tocopherols (vitamin E). It is low calorie, and comes in a natural liver flavour so it can be given to dogs, instead of a treat.
* Cosequin. These are chewables that contain a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. Some formulations also contain MSM and manganese.
* Glyco-Flex. In tablet form, this product contains glucosamine, green-lipped mussel powder and DMG (an antioxidant).
* Adequan® Canine is a polysulphated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) aimed at helping prevent cartilage in your dog’s joint from wearing away. It is administered as an intramuscular injection, twice a week, for four weeks.
* Joint Aid 4 Dogs is a powder added to your dog’s food that contains glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, Ester-C (vitamin C), curcumin, glutamine, beta glucan and an oats extract. The manufacturer claims that their unique blend ensures better absorption while avoiding digestive upsets.
* Free and Easy for Dogs. Another powder that is administered with food and contains glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, vitamin C and a number of other ingredients.
* Synoquin. This capsule/tablet contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, vitamin C and zinc.
* Canine CORTA-FLX can be bought as a liquid, pellets or capsules. Its primary ingredients are glucosamine and chondroitin.
* Green-lipped mussel powder. Green lipped mussels grow in a unique ecosystem in the sea located at the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand. Its shell contains nutrients that suppress inflammation. In addition, the powder has been shown to contain chondroitin sulphates, PUFAs, as well as other nutrients that potentially improve joint health.
You also can’t expect joint aids to work immediately. Because many of them work on the joint cartilage and the joint fluid, it takes several weeks before they have a result. This means that your dog will still be sore for a little while. This means that you may need to give your dog pain relief medication for a while, and it may then be difficult to work out whether the improvement in his symptoms is due to the supplement or because of the medication. They also need to be given in conjunction with a good management plan that looks as your dogs diet and exercise routine.
So, should you use joint aids to treat your dog’s arthritis?
If you use a reputable product and follow the directions, it could be worth giving them a try. Always let your veterinarian know what you are treating him with, in case of any drug interactions. Be aware that they aren’t the only remedy for osteoarthritis, and be prepared to use additional canine arthritis treatments to keep him comfortable.