Supplements for pets with arthritis
Glucosamine, an amino sugar derived from shellfish, is a precursor to glycosaminoglycans, the building blocks of cartilage. Many glucosamine supplements often include chondroitin and/or MSM as well. These compounds have been shown to protect cartilage and decrease inflammation within the joints. They are more effective when used as a preventative than as a treatment, but they can help in pets that already have arthritis as well. All pets that are prone to developing arthritis should be on a glucosamine supplement. Large breed dogs should be started on a glucosamine supplement at one year of age.
Elk Velvet Antler
Elk velvet antler is an all natural supplement collected from the antlers of elk during the velvet stage of growth. Studies have shown that elk velvet antler decreases pain associated with arthritis and is myotropic, meaning it will help prevent muscle atrophy. These studies also showed that when given twice daily, elk velvet antler can actually facilitate muscle gain. It is available from www.elkantlers.com, www.canevashop.ca, or locally at the Brookside Barkery and Bath, and comes in a powder or capsule form.
MicrolactinTM is a protein derived from milk from hyperimmunized cows. Studies have shown that it blocks the inflammatory response, which decreases pain and inflammation associated with chronic arthritis. It is safe for dogs and cats, and in some pets it can actually decrease the amount of other medications that are needed. It does not inhibit the COX enzyme pathways, so it is safe to use in conjunction with NSAIDs. Duralactin® is the brand name for the veterinary product. Duralactin® is only available through your veterinarian, so contact us if you are interested in this product for your pet!
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is another glycosaminoglycan found in high concentrations in synovial (joint) fluid and cartilage. It has been shown that the concentration of HA decreases in the joint when arthritis is present. When it is present in the joint, it lubricates and cushions the joint, even when arthritis is present. There is good evidence in people that high molecular weight HA is absorbed through the GI tract and provides good lubrication within the knee. The two products that provide high molecular weight HA as an oral supplement are Hyaflex TM and Lubrisyn TM. Clinical impressions of veterinarians that are using these products suggest that they can be another option for controlling arthritis pain. These are available through their websites. Brookside Barkery and Bath also carries Hyaflex TM.