It is hard seeing your friend slow down and have more difficulty over time with mobility.
Getting up after laying down for a time can be a struggle and going up and down stairs can become more difficult. There are several different nutraceutical (non-drug) options to help with arthritis, but how do they work? Here we will go over a few of the top treatments and how they work: glucosamine and chondroitin, Cartrophen, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Glucosamine + chondroitin: you may have heard these supplements suggested for yourself or someone you know to help with joint mobility. Well, they work in our pets the same way!
Glucosamine helps to make collagen and other ‘building blocks’ that make up joint cartilage. The cartilage is a special layer on the bone that covers joints to help them move smoothly and without pain. The body does make its own glucosamine, but it is not always able to make enough to keep up with the wear that comes with disease or age. Chondroitin, on the other hand, helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage and joint fluid. Glucosamine and chondroitin also have anti-inflammatory properties, so they have multiple beneficial effects on joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are taken orally and can be bought as a liquid, tablet, or powder formulation.
Cartrophen is the brand name of a nutraceutical containing pentosane polysulfate which is a plant-based compound. This nutraceutical also works to help with arthritis in many different ways: it stimulates cartilage production, improves the quantity and quality of joint fluid, increases blood supply and nutrition to the joint, prevents the breakdown of cartilage, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Cartrophen is administered as an injection under the skin and has an affinity for joint cartilage, so its effects will last for 4 to 6 weeks before another injection is needed.
Omega 3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA are both omega 3 fatty acids that have important anti-inflammatory roles. Fish oils are high in EPA and DHA, and can be added to your pet’s food daily in capsule or liquid form.
Nutraceuticals like glucosamine, chondroitin and omega 3 fatty acids are one piece of the puzzle. The best strategy for combatting arthritis is a multimodal approach of nutraceuticals, anti-inflammatory medication, regular exercise, physical therapy, and weight loss.
Written by: Dr. Connie Tuck, DVM