Orthopedic problems are an incredibly common source of pain in pets, and managing these issues often requires a multi-pronged approach. One of the foundations in orthopedic pet pain management at West Park Animal Hospital often includes a joint support supplement. Glucosamine for pets can play a central role in helping our patients feel better.
What is Glucosamine?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that results in degeneration of the joints over time. It is a common problem in our pets, with over 20% of the dog population being affected. The causes include:
- Defects in the formation of the joint itself
- Defect in the body’s manufacturing of joint cartilage
- Trauma to the joint
- Instability in joint
- Inflammation within the joint
- Wear and tear over time
Arthritis in pets results in pain and decreased mobility. These things can have a huge impact on the overall quality of life for our patients. Thankfully, our veterinary professionals have many options for our pet patients when it comes to pain management. Typically, multiple treatments are combined to reach the best effects for an individual animal’s situation.
Glucosamine for pets is often a recommendation for many of our patients with orthopedic disease. Glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate are often combined in supplements in order the help regulate the manufacture of cartilage within the joint, provide potential anti-inflammatory effects, and stop the synthesis of destructive enzymes within the joint itself.
While there is equivocal evidence in the scientific literature about how effective these supplements are and at what doses, we often recommend glucosamine for pets with orthopedic disease due to our positive clinical impressions and low risk of side effects.
How Glucosamine for Pets Helps
When recommending glucosamine supplements for pets, we have several goals in mind:
- Decreasing the wear and tear on the joints over time, especially joints that overloaded due to issues in other limbs
- Slow the progression of arthritis by decreasing the production of cartilage damaging inflammatory substances
- Decreasing the inflammation that can contribute to pain
- Improve willingness to use joint and prevent further restriction of motion and muscle atrophy
Because nutraceuticals such as joint supplements are not regulated by the FDA as of this time, it is important to choose a brand that is trustworthy. We are at the manufacturer’s mercy as to the quality of their ingredients, their processing techniques, and production of voluntary research regarding their products.
Likewise, while many pet foods and treats include glucosamine and chondroitin in their ingredients list, it is unlikely that they have enough in a serving to reach therapeutic levels in the pet. In order to want to manage pet pain effectively, we will need to supplement beyond these products.
If we recommend glucosamine supplements for your pet, we are happy to make recommendations for specific brands and products that we find to be trustworthy and effective. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need help choosing one.
Managing pet pain and arthritis often needs to be a multi-pronged approach including things like pet rehabilitation therapy and pharmaceuticals, and glucosamine supplementation can be an effective part of the plan. Its potential benefits can be a great foundation when trying to help our pets function the best that they can.