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Nutrition Nuggets
 
 
Your dog's nutrition is important for a healthy & happy life. petMD experts help you to know what to feed your dog, how much food to feed, and the differences in dog foods, so your dog gets optimum nutrition.
Nutrition Nuggets is the newest offshoot of petMD's Dog Nutrition Center. Each week Dr. Coates will use her expertise and wisdom to blog about the intricacies of dog nutrition.

Nutritional Supplements for Joint Health

May 24, 2013 / (3) comments

There are a few times, however, when supplements are beneficial. One example is in the management of canine degenerative joint disease (otherwise known as osteoarthritis or simply arthritis). Enough practical experience and scientific evidence is available to make recommending some types of nutritional supplements aimed at improving joint health standard.

Fairly solid evidence exists supporting the positive effect of the following:

  • a combination of chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine hydrochloride, and manganese ascorbate
  • Avocado/Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU)
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • green-lipped mussels
  • polysulfated glycosaminoglycans
  • P54FP (an extract of turmeric)
  • injectable pentosan polysulphate (available from compounding pharmacies)

Wonderful, you might be thinking, where do I buy a product that includes all of those ingredients and nothing else? There’s the rub. Each joint supplement on the market contains its own blend of ingredients. Some may have several of the above, others a different combination or only a single ingredient with or without the addition of other things of questionable value. And that’s not all. Quality control in the supplement market can be less than ideal, so even if the label states that a particular ingredient is included at a particular dose, consumers may still have reason to question the product’s composition. Finally, a lot of individual variation exists in patient response to joint supplements (and medications in general). What works best for one dog may be ineffectual in another.

In an attempt to deal with the uncertainty surrounding joint supplements, I generally recommend products made by reputable manufacturers that contain at least a couple of the ingredients mentioned above. I also like to see scientific research that supports the effectiveness of a particular product (not just the ingredients that are included) as a method of quality assurance. After a dog has been on one joint protectant for a month or so, I evaluate how he or she is doing. If the owner and I agree that the improvement is satisfactory (granted that’s a nebulous assessment) then we continue as is. If we think we could do better, I’ll recommend another product with a different set of active ingredients, and we’ll try that one for a month.

If the dog’s condition has not improved after trying three highly regarded products with dissimilar ingredient lists for a month each, I’ll stop recommending joint protectants for that particular individual and start leaning more heavily on other ways of treating degenerative joint disease. It is important to remember that a multi-modal approach to treatment is almost always best. Joint supplements are good, but work even better in combination with weight loss, non-steroidal antiinflammatories, other pain relievers (e.g., tramadol, gabapentin, or amantidine), physical therapy, acupuncture, stem cell therapy, massage, cold laser treatments, and even surgery in extreme cases.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

Source

Systematic review of clinical trials of treatments for osteoarthritis in dogs. Aragon CL, Hofmeister EH, Budsberg SC. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Feb 15;230(4):514-21.

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Comments  3

Leave Comment
  • Another Nutritional
    05/24/2013 11:33am

    One thing that I use sometimes it the Hill's J/D, Joint Diet. It is very high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are anti-inflamatory, but has no dangerous side effects like non-steroidal anti-inflamatories can have. They also would be compatible to use with the specific joint supplements that you mentioned.

    Dr. Bob Turrou
    http://practicalveterinarytips.com

  • Supplements
    05/24/2013 05:43pm

    If I remember correctly, didn't someone do a study and find out that human supplements many times didn't contain all the things posted on the label? If that's true, it would stand to reason that it would also be true for critter supplements.

    I will echo bobaloo's comment, though. I've heard some very good things about J/D.

  • Joint Supplements
    06/03/2013 06:37pm

    Have you heard of the company Nzymes.com? They have 2 or 3 remarkable customer videos dealing with joint issues in dogs who are using Nzymes products. Here is a video of the one in which the customer is dealing with a severe case of degenerative disc disease: http://youtu.be/N_mSomcgVdM

 



ABOUT NUTRITION NUGGETS

JENNIFER COATES, DVM

Photo of Jennifer

... graduated with honors from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. In the years since, she has practiced veterinary medicine in Virginia, Wyoming, and Colorado. She is the author of several books about veterinary medicine and animal care, including the Dictionary of Veterinary Terms, Vet-Speak Deciphered for the Non-Veterinarian .

Jennifer also writes short stories that focus on the strength and importance of the human-animal bond and freelance articles relating to a variety of animal care and veterinary topics. Dr. Coates lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and pets.

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