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When it comes to omega-3s, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from wild-caught coldwater fish is best. Farm-raised fish have low levels of omega-3s and high levels of omega 6s, Dr. One study found that some dogs receiving carprofen for osteoarthritis pain that were also fed a diet supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids needed less carprofen.4 Dr. Brunke recommends a dosage of 100 mg/kg combined EPA and DHA for osteoarthritis. FYI-in case your clients ask, flaxseed does not provide sufficient amounts of DHA and EPA in dogs.

There has been no published research on the use of these supplements in dogs, Dr. Eggshell membrane contains high concentrations of glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen and hyaluronic acid, Dr. Brunke says-but absorption of these nutrients is unknown. There are some good human studies that demonstrate the efficacy of eggshell membrane in treating osteoarthritis, he adds, and while there are no published studies in dogs, Virbac recently launched a veterinary product called Movoflex. The mechanism of green-lipped mussels has not been determined, Dr. Brunke says, but a 2013 study found increased concentrations of plasma omega-3 fatty acids and improvement of peak vertical force in dogs fed a diet enriched with green-lipped mussel.5 Still, studies do not demonstrate consistent improvement, and there are some concerns about the efficacy of farmed mussels and the sustainability of harvesting wild-caught mussels, he says. This tree extract is said to have an NSAID-like effect.

A 2004 study showed statistically significant reduction of severity and resolution of the signs of osteoarthritis in dogs, such as intermittent lameness, local pain and stiff gait, after six weeks of treatment with Boswellia serrata. 6 Note that the study was unblinded, based on subjective data and not placebo-controlled, Dr. Your clients might ask you about … Arm yourself for the next round of client questions with info on these substances. One study showed that curcumin inhibited macrophage proliferation related to a strong downregulation of TNF-alpha and fibrinolysis activation, suggesting that curcumin offers anti-inflammatory support for osteoarthritis treatment in dogs.7 But standard extracts are not well-absorbed in dogs, making this a less-effective joint supplement. And turmeric, from which curcumin is derived, is not safe or efficacious for pet health. Matt Brunke is concerned with two things: safety and efficacy. In veterinary medicine, a nutraceutical is defined as a nondrug substance produced in a purified or extracted form that is intended to improve health and well-being. Nutraceuticals are not drugs; they are considered food and regulated as such. This can lay the groundwork for contamination and variability because there is no direct regulatory oversight and no requirement for studies to prove efficacy and safety. Brunke says, when evaluating product labels and claims. Last year alone there were more than 22,000 human trips to the ER directly related to consumption of joint supplements alone. Just because a nutraceutical label claims something doesn't make it gospel. Look for evidence that a product works, like double-blind placebo studies, studies done by an independent third party, prospective studies or studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Brunke recommends calling the company and asking for research-if they can't give you any, that's a major red flag. Yes, you heard that right-have you seen NFL players chewing on antlers on the sidelines? A 2004 study showed improvement in dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis when administered high-quality elk velvet antler powder supplement.8 The mechanism of action is not known and a dosage has not been established, Dr. This probably goes without saying, but the antler chew toys from the pet store do not contain the active ingredient. Duralactin reduces inflammation by blocking neutrophils from entering the endothelial wall. This supplement has been studied extensively in people but is yet to be determined efficacious in dogs, Dr. Does your patient need to build muscle, and you are thinking a muscle-building supplement might help? Are clients asking you about creatine and whey protein for their dogs? Creatine is used by people for muscle building and recovery.

The kicker is that creatine requires anaerobic activity, such as weightlifting, to be effective. Brunke says, if you put creatine in your protein shakes and you aren't doing weightlifting exertion within 30 seconds, all creatine does is make you fat. In general, creatine is probably OK for gym rats and maybe for flyball dogs, but do we really want our canine athletes jacked out like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Chromium is marketed to build muscle in people, but there are no studies in dogs. While chromium supplementation has been found to help people with diabetes, it does not help diabetic dogs, Dr. This supplement is marketed to decrease lactic acid buildup. Lecithin is an emulsifying agent marketed to support athletic performance.

Now that you've got an overview of which supplements might assist your canine patients, consider these helpful hints: > Start chondroprotective agents as early as possible in large-breed dogs or dogs predisposed to development of osteoarthritis. Joint supplements can be given to puppies as young as 8 weeks of age that are predisposed to development of osteoarthritis due to conformation or injury.

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