Updated: Oct 1, 2020
While prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medications can address the discomfort caused by joint disease, you'll need to improve the health of your pet's joints to preserve their mobility and comfort for years to come.
If your pet is overweight, and almost 50% of pets are, then their joints will suffer added stress. If your pet has joint disease, you must get their weight under control.
Ask your veterinarian what your pet's BCS (body condition score) is, and use this calculator to find the appropriate calorie intake to achieve their ideal weight.
Very generally, a pet's ribs should be easily felt (though not protruding) and a waist narrowing should be visible (This is not true for all breeds so make sure to confirm with your Vet).
Glucosamine and Chondroitin The classic recommendation for joint supplementation is Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Dasuquin for dogs and Cosequin for cats, available in our office, are great products as they are already dosed appropriately for pets by weight. Glucosamine/Chrondroitin are human supplements for joint health as well, so you can find a very inexpensive over-the-counter product and simply apply the appropriate dosage for your pet. It won't be chicken flavored, however!
Studies show improvement within 4 to 6 weeks and lasting results with ongoing use of the supplements.
Adequan There is another very effective treatment for joints called Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan under the brand name Adequan. It is only available as an injection, which we can administer in our office or can be administered at home with training by our technicians. Adequan can be very expensive at first as it requires a "loading"schedule of two injections a week for one month, then one injection a week for one month, after which only monthly dosing is required.
Gluco Blu There is a new product called Gluco Blu, currently formulated (for dogs only) under the brand name Rejensa, which has been shown to achieve results faster than Glucosamine and Chondroitin- usually within 2 weeks instead of 6. We hope to see it become available for cats in the future.
**Patients can choose either Adequan or Glucosamine/ Gluco Blu and Chondroitin; they do not need multiple supplements**
Moving the Joints is Essential Once your pet is able to move with more comfort, they should be encouraged to use their affected joints. Low-impact use of joints is essential to their health. It can be as simple as walks, swimming or encouraging gentle play. Additionally, there are Veterinarians that specialize in animal physical therapy and rehabilitation. We like PAW rehab here in the valley, and California Animal Rehab Center in Santa Monica- they even make house calls!