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Is Glucosamine Effective for Arthritis in Dogs? 
12/15/03 Posted by Administrator

An informative report for anyone who owns a pet including the latest breakthroughs in fighting arthritis in pets, a debilitating disease for 30% of all dogs and cats. 

Is your beloved pet not as active as they used to be? 

Approximately 25-30% of family pets suffer from osteoarthritis. The stiffness, pain and swelling in a pet with arthritis is really no different than what you as a human being would experience. Arthritis in pets, as is humans, is a debilitating disease that greatly affects your pet's health and wellbeing. With the onset of arthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), a happy, playful Fido or Fluffy can quickly turn listless and pain ridden. 

Types of Pet Arthritis 

Osteoarthritis (general term, also known as OA) 
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) 
Hip Dysplasia 
Elbow (dysplasia) 
Knee (dysplasia) 
Knee (stifle joint) 
Osteochondrosis 
Hypertrophic arthritis 
Shoulder (degeneration) 
Wrist Arthritis (carpi) 
Kneecap (dislocation) 

If you are not sure which condition your pet has, or wish to read more information on the specific types, a full description can be found here. 

What's really going on to cause this pain in your pet? 

The physiological changes that occur in pets are virtually identical to that of the human body. Essentially, it is the ""breakdown"" of the (protective) cartilage that covers or protects the ends of bones at the joint. 

Primary vs. Secondary Osteoarthritis

Since pets by their nature are very active, it follows that they are constantly subjecting themselves to trauma. Where trauma is the cause of the onset of one of many (osteoarthritis) conditions (as opposed to hereditary conditions), the course of the disease is extremely rapid. While a human may sustain a traumatic injury that does not develop into an arthritic condition for many years, quite the opposite is true with pets. Unlike humans, most of pet arthritis develops almost immediately after trauma to their bodies. The onset can and is often within weeks of even a minor injury as opposed to years for a human. This is referred to as secondary arthritis compared to the more usual primary arthritis in humans. 

They Can't Discuss their Pain 

Pet owners often ask if glucosamine can be used for pets to help thier joints even though your pet does not have a diagnosis of OA from your veterinarian? 

As most of you know, many human beings take glucosamine to build and rehabilitate joint cartilage and slow the progression of OA. You can do the same for your pet. 

There are signs, however, that will tell you your pet is at risk. 

How Do You Know? 

Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play 
Limping 
Lagging behind on walks 
Difficulty rising from a resting position 
Yelping in pain when touched 
A personality change 
Resisting touch 

The Typical Veterinarian Response 

If your pet is showing any of the above signs, it is always a good idea to take your pet to the Vet. They will be able to tell you exactly which type of arthritis your pet has (listed above). 

A typical response to these conditions (if diagnosed) by a veterinarian is to prescribe NSAIDS (aspirin, aleve, motrin, etc.) for pain. In the more severe cases, steroids or even surgery may be suggested. The use of NSAIDS (and even veterinarians will agree, is not without some element of risk. Just as in the case of humans, pets run the risk of side effects even though they do get some pain relief. It goes without saying that the use of steroids and/or surgery poses even greater risks. 

Side effects of NSAIDS include stomach ulcers and liver damage. COX-II Inhibitors have been shown to increase chance of heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, while these treatments do reduce the pain, they do nothing to treat the disease. 

There is an alternative... 

More progressive veterinarians who are knowledgeable about recent studies, clinical trials, and overwhelmingly positive patient response will know that glucosamine not only eases pain, but also assists in the rehabilitation of damaged cartilage. While of course, the comfort of your pet is paramount in your mind, glucosamine (in the right form and quality combined with other ""driving"" and synergistic ingredients) not only eases the pain quickly, but it goes to the root of the disease and slows its progression. 

Glucosamine, when combined with the appropriate ingredient mix, will ease your pet's arthritis pain in about ten to fifteen days. In extremely severe cases, it may take as long as thirty days. What should not be overlooked is that this can be accomplished without the dangerous side effects of NSAIDS and COX-II inhibitors. 

It must be stressed that these kinds of results will only be seen if you are using an extremely high-quality liquid glucosamine formulation. The use of pills or capsules is not going to produce these kinds of results. A pharmaceutical quality liquid formula is recommended for maximum effectiveness, absorption, and minimum time to relief. 

It is also important to understand that in order to maximize both the impact on pain relief and rehabilitation, other ingredients are essential. Those ingredients include: Bromelain, Boswellin; Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids; and Manganese Ascorbate, among others. These and other ingredients play a major role in both easing pain and assisting the rebuilding process. "