Glucosamine is the one of the most commonly used nutraceuticals in the world. Veterinarians frequently prescribe glucosamine as a treatment for osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.
Glucosamine is an essential building block of joint cartilage. It is a complex molecule composed of an amino acid (glutamine) and a sugar (glucose). Ordinarily, the body naturally produces its own glucosamine, but during periods of extensive or prolonged cartilage repair, it is believed there may be a shortage of glucosamine. Various synthetic supplements, often made from chitin, a substance in the shells of crustaceans, are on the market that are used to ostensibly relieve the glucosamine shortage in arthritic dogs and cats. Additionally, some studies have also suggested that glucosamine may act as a cyclooxygenase
inhibitor, in a manner similar to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. In placebo controlled studies, glucosamine has compared favorably to ibuprofen in the long term reduction of pain associated with arthritis in humans, while causing fewer side effects. Glucosamine is very safe, even in diabetic pets. However, it is prudent to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetic pets, especially if high doses of glucosamine are used, as alterations in insulin levels might needed (rare). A prescription is not required for glucosamine; however, substantial differences in quality may exist between manufacturers. Therefore advice from your veterinarian is recommended.
Pets with lameness may show significant improvement when treated with glucosamine. Other potential indications for glucosamine include treatment of intervertebral disk disease, recurrent cystitis, and severe inflammatory bowel disease.
How Do I Know If My Pet Needs Glucosamine?
Your dog's or cat's joints are formed where two bones meet. The ends of the bone are cushioned by cartilage. Similar to a shock absorber, the cartilage, joint fluid, and bones work together allowing flexible joint function. Cartilage lacks a direct blood supply, so nutrients from surrounding tissue must pass into the cartilage in order to maintain healthy cartilage structure.
In a healthy joint, cartilage production and breakdown are balanced; however, cartilage breakdown can exceed the process of production, especially in very active pets, large breed dogs, older pets, pets predisposed to joint issues or problems, service dogs or other working dogs. Joint health can then be affected resulting in less flexibility and possible pain. You might notice that your dog slows down during walks, does not get up easily, or is reluctant to climb stairs or jump up onto furniture or into the car. You may notice your cat is less eager to play or jump and appears slower and/or less mobile.
The doctors at Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital prefer to use Dasuquin.
Dasuquin is the top joint health brand recommended by veterinarians. It is the most complete joint supplement available for dogs and cats and goes beyond standard glucosamine supplements. It is a joint supplement which helps maintain cartilage structure and inhibits the enzymes that break down cartilage components. Dasuquin contains glucosamine, avacado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), decaffeinated tea, and chondroitin sulfate. Published studies have shown this combination of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate better protects cartilage than either one ingredient alone. The highly absorbable tea in Dasuquin is rich in antioxidants, which have a positive effect on cartilage. Further, ASU has been shown to support joint function and comfort levels. ASU complements the positive effects of the glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in Dasuquin. Cell structure studies have shown that glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate plus ASU works better than glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate alone at inhibiting cartilage breakdown.
In addition to treatment for lameness, intervertebral disk disease, degenerative joint disease, recurrent cystitis, and severe inflammatory bowel disease, Dasuquin may also be suggested as a protective measure. Further, it is used to help support cartilage following surgery. Additionally, Dasuquin is sometimes used to help maintain urinary bladder health.
Dasuquin is available from your veterinarian. It is available in different strengths and formulas. It is available for dogs in chewable tablets and soft chews. Dasuquin for cats is available in capsules that contain a tasty chicken and tuna flavored powder. The capsule should be opened and contents mixed or sprinkled over the cat's food. Or it may be "pilled", if that is more convenient. Your veterinarian is best qualified to decide if Dasuquin may benefit your pet and can monitor your pet's response, making adjustments, as necessary, to the administered formula and strength for your particular pet.
There are no known contraindications or interactions between Dasuquin and any other drug or nutritional supplement. It has been evaluated in safety studies in dogs and cats and no adverse effects were noted from administration.
This information is not a replacement for a veterinary consultation. Please do not attempt to diagnose your pet's symptoms and please consult a veterinarian before beginning any supplement or medication routine.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your pet's health and/or care, please call our hospital to set up an appointment. Contact us! (480) 893-0533
If you would like more information on Dasuquin, please stop by our hospital and pick up a brochure.