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Nutraceuticals for Dogs with Arthritis

We take a closer look at a whole range of Nutraceuticals that promise to assist with the relief of canine arthritis and joint care issues.

To learn more about the causes of canine arthritis, its progression, how to detect its first signs in your dog as well as strategies to delay its onset - ranging from adequate nutrition, regular exercise and physical therapies - please read our previous posts on "Dealing with Canine Arthritis" and "Canine Massage Therapy".

WHAT ARE NUTRACEUTICALS?

The term “Nutraceutical” is derived from the terms “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”, and was originally defined as a “food that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease”. This definition becomes much more vague and more open to interpretation once it is used commercially...

In essence, there is no definitive definition of a Nutraceutical. A vague definition is that it is any dietary ingredient, including vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and substances including enzymes, metabolites or organ tissues, which are included in a product, fed by mouth, and may provide some health benefit. 

It is worth noting that nutraceuticals are not subjected to the same testing and regulations as pharmaceuticals, and this is one of the reasons why there is a lot of skepticism around the subject of their benefits and efficacy. And with this definition in mind, it can't be surprising to realise that there are a variety of different dietary supplements and nutraceuticals which are used, and claim to be of benefit in treating or alleviating clinical symptoms of arthritis in pets.

COMMON INGREDIENTS IN THE TREATMENT OF CANINE ARTHRITIS

In this article, we will take a look at the more common ones used to treat arthritis in pets and how these claim to work...


#1. Glucosamine

Glucosamine Sulphate is considered one of the building blocks of joint fluid and cartilage in joints. It is a naturally occurring compound, and is often extracted from crab, lobster, or shrimp shells. It has been proposed that the product has a benefit in both alleviating pain, and modifying the cartilage structure in arthritic pets. 


Certainly these effects have been measured in people suffering osteoarthritis, so it could be assumed that it’s equally effective in pets. However, it should be noted the appropriate dose and body condition for pets to receive the benefits of this supplement, aren’t defined to any accurate degree at this stage.

#2. Chondroitin Sulphate

Chondroitin Sulphate is a substance that is naturally found in the connective tissues of animals. It is a common supplement for pets showing signs of osteo-arthritis, and the results are again vague. Some studies prove a benefit in reducing symptoms of pain and reduced mobility, whilst others show less promising results. And once again, the most effective dose rate isn’t obviously known.


#3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

Omega 3 Fatty Acids are poly-ununsaturated fatty acids, of which 2 types (EPA, DHA) are found in marine, fish oils, and reportedly play a large role in treating and alleviating pain associated with arthritis in pets. Omega 3 Fatty acids are necessary physiologically for an animal’s normal metabolism, and are called essential fatty acids. As they cannot be produced in the body, they have to be supplemented via their diet. Just remember to use a fish oil supplement that’s specifically designed for dogs, not humans as pets prefer oil that just tastes like the fish it came from.

Multiple studies have proven a health benefit in using Omega-3 oils to treat arthritis, by reducing the inflammation in the joint, and alleviating the symptoms of pain and reduced mobility, associated with this disease.


#4. Green-Lipped Mussel Extracts
Green-lipped Mussel is a shellfish, often sourced from New Zealand. The extract from this food source, contains a combination of Glucosamine, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and a variety of minerals. 

It is proposed that this product can alleviate pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Once again, there really isn’t a lot of evidence to support the claims, and the question you need to ask, is whether your pet is getting an appropriate dosage to make a difference.

Commercial products are often comprised of a combination of the nutraceuticals mentioned above, in addition to other ingredients. 

SOME COMMON NUTRACEUTICALS OPTIONS IN AUSTRALIA

1) 4CYTE Canine

4CYTE™ Canine is an oral nutraceutical joint supplement.

It is a unique advancement in joint treatment containing Epiitalis®, a plant oil extract patented for its ability to proliferate chondrocyte cells for cartilage regeneration. Indicated for use when treating mild to moderate OA, after joint damage or surgery.

It comes in palatable granules which can be taken with other medications. 
Safe to take long-term. Available over the counter from vet clinics and online in 50g or 100g pack sizes.

For more information, please visit www.4cytevet.com

2) Ceva Animal Health - Joint Guard

Joint Guard for Dogs is a formula containing key ingredients that have been shown to work together to maintain healthy joints in dogs. 
It contains purified Glucosamine Hydrochloride which is the raw material for new cartilage growth plus an easy-to-absorb form of Chondroitin Sulfate to help reduce ongoing cartilage damage. 

Joint Guard also contains MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), an organic sulfur compound that is claimed to reduce pain and inflammation.

Available in three pack sizes: 200g, 400g and 750g.

RRP: from $53.35 (200g) at vetshopaustralia.com.au


3) Glyde Mobility Chews 

Glyde Mobility Chews can help maintain healthy joints and cartilage and may also aid in the improvement of joint health and function in dogs.



The chews contain three ingredients in a one-of-a-kind TREATment: 
  • NZ green-lipped mussel provides clinically proven anti-inflammatory efficacy and is a natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, protein, glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Glucosamine HCl increases protective joint fluid
  • Chondroitin which helps rebuild cartilage.
Glyde Mobility Chews contain no artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives and no shark cartilage. The soft, heart-shaped chews are easy to break with dosing that is convenient for large and small breeds. Available in 2 pack sizes (60 or 120 chews) from vets or online.

RRP: $65.00 (60 chews) from storeanz.parnell.com


4) Nature’s Answer - Pernaease Powder 

This a 100% natural joint health supplement for dogs composed of a combination of three freeze-dried marine extracts: green shelled mussel, shark cartilage and abalone – with no added fillers or chemicals. 

These extracts provide a natural source of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 fatty acids and a range of important minerals. Pernaease Powder is registered as a veterinary medicine in Australia with a claim for providing relief of arthritic symptoms in dogs. 

Nature’s Answer Pernaease Powder is palatable to most dogs and is simply sprinkled on the food once a day. It comes in two convenient pack sizes – 125g and 250g and is available through your local pet store, produce store or vet clinic.

For details, please visit www.mavlab.com.au

5) PAW Osteosupport - Joint Care Powder for Dogs


This is a natural green-lipped mussel powder Perna128®manufactured using lower temperatures for a highly concentrated product.

It contains high levels of Omega 3 (EPA, DHA & ETA) providing joint care relief plus a natural source of glycosaminoglycans (Chondroitin 6 Sulfate) that are key nutrients required for cartilage production to aid joint care.

Osteosupport comes in a convenient capsule which provides a daily dose ready to give to your dog: most dogs take it sprinkled over their food. 

Available in two pack sizes: 80 and 150 capsules.

RRP: from $50.95 (80 capsules) from www.blackmores.com.au 


6) Technyflex Canine

This is a natural product for dogs that may relieve sore and inflammed joints and arthritic symptoms. 

The product is derived from 100% Enriched NHNZTM  green-lipped mussel (meat only, not the shell) from New Zealand. 
It is also high in Omega 3s and 6s and contains GAGs (glycosaminoglycans), minerals and vitamins. 

Technyflex Canine is available as a powder (100g-200g) or capsules (80 or 240 pack). 

RRP: from $39.95 (80 capsules) at www.comvet.com.au

7) Total Pet - JointPower®

JointPower® is a high-quality powder that promotes joint health in dogs and cats. It is easy to use - just add it to your pet's food.

It comprises a number of active ingredients: Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM, Vitamin C and Turmeric. Each of these ingredients plays a role in joint health and each occurs naturally, with all but turmeric (from plants) found within the animal body. 

Treatment is most effective
as a prevention strategy to protect joint cartilage in animals at risk of developing joint problems including highly active animals and ageing animals but also for animals with existing mild, low-grade osteoarthritis.

RRP: $69.95 (160g) from www.totalpet.com.au


8) TuffRock K9JF

K9JF is designed to support normal healthy joint and muscles. 

It is a holistic joint support formula from organic vitamins, micro anti-oxidants, super phyto-nutrients synergised with TuffRock’s ancient volcanic minerals that naturally support gut health and collagen generation. It contains no seafood, animal products or drugs and no added flavouring.

K9JF comes packaged in powder form (ready to mix with your dog's main meal) in a handy 275g or 500g bucket.

RRP: from $35
 (275g) at tuffrockk9.net



9) Vetalogica Joint Formula

Vetalogica's Joint Formula for dogs combines natural ingredients into a great tasting powder for pets.

It comprises Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, MSM, Manganese, Vitamin C, Zinc & Copper (as amino acid chelates), Vitamin E, Fructose, Silica-colloidal anhydrous, Povidone, Cellulose-microcrystalline.

Use by simply sprinkling the powder on your pet's food or mix it into the food. This product is not recommended for use in acute or infectious joint conditions so always speak with your vet first to ensure it is appropriate for your dog's condition.

RRP: $32.95 (150g) at www.vetalogica.com.au




10) Vet's All Natural - Joint Support Powder

This powdered supplement has been developed by Dr Bruce Syme of Vets All Natural. The holistic formula aims to improve your dog's joint health and function with long term use. 

With a combination of ingredients including Boron, Calcium, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, Omega 3, Ginger, Vitamin C, Sulphur and Magnesium, it supplements a healthy diet. The boost of these nutrients provides broad skeletal support for joints and arthritis (not recommended for use in acute or infectious conditions).

This product has been tried and tested over many years and is registered by the APVMA

There are 4 sizes available 250g, 500g, 1kg and 3kg.

RRP: from $34.99 (250g) at www.mypetwarehouse.com.au


So where does this leave us? We have come to the conclusion that all of the above mentioned Nutraceuticals may or may not provide a health benefit in treating arthritis in pets. And assuming they do, what dose rate is necessary to achieve the desired effect? To our knowledge, there really isn't a good answer to this question.

Should you therefore supplement your arthritic pets with Nutraceuticals? 

Personally, I think there’s enough information out there to suggest it may make a difference, but not enough information to feel 100% confident you are appropriately treating you pet with the correct combination of supplements, and dose rates.

So, frustrating as it is, it comes down to a personal choice. If you think it makes a difference, then certainly give it a go. In my opinion, any product which alleviates your dog's arthritic pain, to any degree, is worth pursuing. What are your thoughts?

ImportantThe information provided in this article is for general information only and is subject to change. Always verify the accuracy of the above first with your primary care veterinarian or in the case of a product, by reading pack and prescribing information before administering it to your pet. The specific needs and circumstances of your pet have not been taken into account.

Australian Dog Lover does not endorse or recommend any of the products mentioned in this article and they are listed for information purposes only. 
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