Arthritis Relief for Pets
one likes to see an animal suffer, but watching a beloved dog
struggle to get up from her bed, or a cherished cat hobble around
the house, is truly heartbreaking. Yet, just as in humans, osteoarthritis
is an equal opportunity disease, striking young and old, healthy
and infirm alike. In fact, for many purebred animals, osteoarthritis
is virtually a given, due to breeding practices that result in
congenital joint problems, like hip dysplasia.
osteoarthritis, cartilage breaks down, which is the spongy, protective
cushion between bones that meet in a joint. In pets, these are
often hip, knee and ankle joints, but others can be involved.
As the cartilage wears away, the bones rub against one another,
causing pain, inflammation and stiffness. For many pets, this
means difficulty rising from a lying or sitting position, or limping
or crying when a specific joint is touched.
osteoarthritis, which plagues some 70 million Americans and millions
of companion animals, doesn't have to be the crippling, devastating
disease it once was. From dozens of studies worldwide, we now
know that many of the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be minimized,
or even eliminated, with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates.
and chondroitin are both essential to healthy joints. Glucosamine
is one of the structural elements found throughout the body, especially
in healthy cartilage, where it serves as a building block. Meanwhile,
chondroitin sulfate is a "liquid magnet," drawing much-needed
fluid to the cartilage, where it provides shock absorption and
nutrients for the cartilage tissues.
Prevention and Cure of Arthritis in Pets
of these supplements have been examined in clinical trials, separately
and together, with impressive results. In one study, rats were
divided into two groups and both groups were given injections
to induce arthritis. But one group of rats was also given a combination
of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, while the other group
was not treated. Only 54 percent of the rats which received glucosamine
and chondroitin developed arthritis symptoms, as opposed to 96.5
percent of the rats that were not treated.
of secondary arthritis, the type that occurs after an animal suffers
an injury or has surgery, can also be relieved. A 1998 study involving
dogs that had surgically reconstructed knee ligaments showed that
those receiving glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements
had significantly fewer symptoms of osteoarthritis than did the
dogs that did not take the supplements.
Right Stuff for Arthritis in Pets
course, we've all heard stories about animals given human medication
with disastrous consequences. As researchers have found,
in the case of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfates, safety is
not compromised. In fact, in a survey of some 1,500 veterinarians,
80 percent of the doctors believed these supplements to be effective
and safe. Still, since there are special pet formulations of these
supplements, consult your health-food store or veterinarian for
general, anything you can do to relieve stress on your pet's joints
can help ease osteoarthritis pain. Help your pet lose excess weight,
avoid repetitive motions (like those involved in agility trials),
and choose low-impact activities, such as walking instead of jogging;
these are ways to keep your pet active and pain-free in the years
recommend a high quality liquid glucosamine product that also
incorporates other beneficial nutritional ingredients like vitamin
C, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese, boswellin, yucca, bromelain and omega
3 & omega 6 as synergistic ingredients. More information on
our recommendation for glucosamine products can
be found here.
J, Slater, J. "Evaluation of clinical efficacy of an oral
glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate compound: Survey of veterinary
practices in the U.S." In: Proceedings of the Seventh Annual
American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium, October, 1997.
DS, et al. "The effect of Cosequin in cranial cruciate deficient
and reconstructed stifle joints in dogs." In: Proceedings
of the Twenty-fifth Annual Conference of the Veterinary Orthopedic
Society, February 1998.
Adderly, M.H.A. is the author of 14 books about health, including
The Arthritis Cure for Pets (Little, Brown, 2000). She may be
reached by visiting www.stayhealthy.com