Do they work or do they just make me feel better?
This is the most common joint supplement recommended and on the market for both people and pets. How it actually works is still unknown. Glucosamine is metabolized by the liver and Chondroitin Sulfate is not likely absorbed intact by the GI tract. The metabolites of both Glucosamine and Chondroitin may provide excess precursors of the cartilage matrix which then help repair articular cartilage and matrix synthesis. There are both positive and negative studies in humans and dogs. As many as 30% of dogs may not absorb it properly. Studies that show positive effects also show that it takes longer to see these effects than compared to traditional NSAIDs.
This supplement is commonly referred to as fatty acids or fish oils. The goal of supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids is to compete and replace the inflammation producing omega-6 fatty acids. The ideal ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids is unknown and may not matter. In dogs, it is recommended that the Omega-3 source is marine based. Recent studies show that freeze dried Green Lipped Mussels may be an ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to note that it may take up to 8 weeks to see any changes.
Undenatured Collagen Type 2 (UC-II)
Undenatured Collagen in the joint causes an inflammatory response that causes pain and more damage to the joint cartilage. By giving UC-II orally the dog builds up a tolerance which then decreases the immune response to undenatured collagen. This is similar to how allergy shots work. An important thing to note is that UC-II should not be given at the same time as Glucosamine since they compete for absorption in the stomach.
Avocado and Soy Unsaponifiables (ASU) are the only botanical discussed here. ASU is hypothesized to act on chondrocytes and subchondral bone osteoblasts to promote cartilage repair that has been damaged by Osteoarthritis. Some studies show different effects of ASU on inflammatory mediators, leading some to believe that ASU may inhibit cartilage degradation and promote cartilage repair.
Boswellia has historical use as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. Studies have shown that Boswellia in use with ASU and glucosamine/chondroitin inhibits inflammatory mediators. Boswellia reduces 5-Cox Activity and inhibits leukotrienes. Liver enzymes should be monitored if your dog takes Boswellia regularly.
Turmeric or Curcuma longa is another historic supplement used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. It is recommended to monitor liver enzymes if Turmeric is used regularly.
CBD & THC
All mammals have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Cannabinoid Receptors are found throughout the body and brain. The ECS is responsible keeping everything in balance in the body or homeostasis. CBD and THC products have been studied for pain management, epilepsy management, anxiety management and as a neuroprotectant. CBD and THC help to reduce the body’s responses to excitatory neurotransmitters, including modulating the body’s inflammatory response.
Fortetropin is a proprietary bioactive ingredient made from fertilized egg yolks. It has been shown to build muscle and reduce muscle loss due to aging or injury. Fortetropin down-regulates the muscle breakdown pathway and up-regulates the muscle building pathway.
It is important to recognize that not all supplement brands are created equal. I recommend these specific brands based on quality control, clinical experience, manufacturer information, and administration recommendations. I do recommend using some of these products as preventatives even in my healthy sport and working dogs.
-Undenatured Collagen Type 2 (UC-II)
-Improvement after only two weeks
-Save up to 10% with code: VPUS5307313
-CBD and CBDA
-To save 20%: total20
These products are available through VetSource or other online links. Click on the product name to be directed to a purchase site.
Other general supplements I recommend:
Plaque-K9 for dental health
Fresh-K9 for sport recovery
Calm-K9 for helping with over-arrousal
Randomised double-blind, positive-controlled trial to assess the efficacy of glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis
McCarthy G, O’Donovan J, Jones B, McAllister H, Seed M, Mooney C
Vet J. 2007 Jul;174(1):54-61.
Clinical evaluation of a nutraceutical, carprofen and meloxicam for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis
Moreau M, Dupuis J, Bonneau NH, Desnoyers M
Vet Rec. 2003 Mar 15;152(11):323-9.
Multimodal Management of Canine Osteoarthritis
Fox SM, 2nd Edition, CRC Press, 2017.
Potential Adverse Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Dogs and Cats
Lenox CE, Bauer JE
J Vet Intern Med 2013;27:217-226.
Comparative therapeutic efficacy and safety of type-II collagen (UC-II), glucosamine and chondroitin in arthritic dogs: pain evaluation by ground force plate
Gupta RC, Canerdy TD, Lindley L, Konemann M, Minniear J, Carroll BA, Hendrick C, Goad JT, Rohde K, Doss R, Bagchi M, Bagchi D
J. Animal Physiol Anim Nutr 2011 May 30.
Phamacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs
Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, Schwark WS, Mann S, Wolfe L, Brown H, Berthelsen ES, Wakshlag JJ
Front Vet Sci, 23 July 2018.