Treating osteoarthritis in our pets

Contributed photoPictured is the sweetest Beagle mix, Charlie Brown, pictured with CGHS/SPCA Shelter Manager Jessica Farkas. Charlie Brown is one and a half years old and already knows so much! He will gladly sit, lay down, shake, and wait — as long as he’s getting a special treat. He is the most docile pup, preferring to spend his time relaxing and taking in new views. He’s adjusted very well to the shelter and gets along well with both dogs and cats. He will make the best furry companion, whether hiking or just having a movie night...he just requires a special spot next to you!

A couple of decades back, a number of us involved in purebred dog rescue began “experimenting,” if you will, with nutraceuticals. Many of our dogs in need of placement were middle-aged to senior status. As a result, the majority of these dogs were dealing with joint stiffness from osteoarthritis.

Athritis becomes the basis of a common bond for many of us. There are variations of treatment protocols, with equally variable responses. Keep in mind that degenerative joint and bone disease does not improve without proper intervention. To quote Connie Vanacor, “…osteoarthritis does not disappear with time. It is a progressive condition which can only be ameliorated with proper management.

Osteoarthritis can and does become debilitating. It should not be ignored, or summarily written off as an expected “old age syndrome.” It stands to reason that proper weight (to be ascertained by your veterinarian) is desirable. Walking, walking, walking, a weight-bearing exercise, is high on the to-do pyramid…again, with medical monitoring. Swimming when and where possible is highly desirable.

When the Glyco-Flex product line emerged, a number of kennel owners jumped on the bandwagon. The active ingredients were Perna canaliculus, glucosamine hydrochloride, and Dimethylglycine. Glyco-Flex I was hailed as an almost miracle-worker with many arthritic canines. As the line became more refined, different strengths and varied formulas were created. Our dogs didn’t lie — remember, no placebo effect here! The product still boasts a faithful following. Vying for first place in this pain relief category comes SynoviG3. Many veterinary practices have this one first on the recommendation list. Synovi boasts an addition of Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). We once treated a Golden Retriever named LUCY who thrived with this product as a part of her pain management protocol. Last but certainly not least is the well-established Cosequin line. The manufacturer boasts that “the ingredients work together to maintain the structure of cartilage, while inhibiting the enzymes that break it down.” I find the pet formulas of these products superior to your “people” choice product. Dasuquin is a veterinary favorite also.

All of these supplements are over-the-counter. The best prices typically come from kvvet.com (1-800-423-8211) or amazon.com…shop around! Needless to say, performance varies with the individual, and often a lack of positive response to one of these choices results in optional performance with another.

There is no doubt that many of our dogs, in need of therapeutic intervention, have been helped by these supplements. Keep in mind that after the discussion with your veterinary doctor, these products typically take eight weeks or more to reach a therapeutic level and “prove” their efficacy.

We also know that additions of Omega-3 fatty acids to your canine’s diet can assist with altering lipids in the cell structure. Again, Connie Vanacor states that this could change the inflammatory response in the joints. My adult German Shepherd Dogs receive 4,000 units of Omega-3 fatty acids daily. One of my friend’s holistic veterinarians has suggested that her adult GSDs be on 4,000 per day. Some individuals will need additional pain management. This review would not be complete without mentioning the excellent performance of Canine Adequan injectable. I personally swear by this product. These suggestions do not exclude our arthritic felines. All of these product lines have cat-appropriate formulas. The treatment issue with our frisky felines revolves around medication and vitamin administration.

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or www.cghs.org. Our Food Bank is open to any in need of pet food or for those wishing to donate food from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

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