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Glucosamine, Chondroitin & Joint Care.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin have become popular supplements for joint care in both pets and people. Many have questions about these and other similar supplements relating to how they work and effectiveness. The reason so many questions exist is that while these ingredients have been found helpful to many they aren’t classified as drugs. Instead they are considered either dietary supplements or neutraceuticals. As such they are generally regarded as safe (GRAS), and need little documentation to be sold as over the counter supplements. Consequently, the rates of success for these products aren’t clear. Anecdotally many pet owners have found these supplements helpful in increasing their pet’s comfort level and mobility. However, there are some pets that don’t seem to benefit from these supplements.

There are specific benefits that each of these supplements is thought to provide. Glucosamine is believed to be connected with the proteins that assist cellular growth and structure. Chondoitin is thought to help aid the repair and strengthen cartilage that is often damaged for arthritis sufferers. Chondroitin, as well as MSM (MethylSulfanoMethane) another common neutraceutical, is believed to help reduce pain associated with joint diseases. This helps provide comfort, and if a pet stays active and mobile that helps slow the progression of arthritis. Other ingredients that are thought to have beneficial effects include shark cartilage, Perna canaliculus, anti oxidants and fatty acids. While the classification as a neutraceutical can be somewhat confusing when it comes to understanding the details and success rate of these items, the benefit is that they are very safe. While it is safest to contact your vet before starting any new diet or supplement, these food additives rarely have side effects. It is important to check with your vet particularly if your pet has other medical conditions, is taking prescription drugs, or is allergy prone. Also, asking your vet’s opinion on what combination he finds most effective and what the appropriate dosage is can help.



Another benefit of these supplements is that they can be given to at risk pets to help ward off the onset of such troublesome joint problems. While cats can have arthritis and joint problems it is much less common than arthritis in dogs. Usually if a cat has arthritis it has suffered a previous joint trauma. Trauma is a risk factor for all both cats and dogs. Large dogs are at a greater risk. High activity dogs, particularly dogs that jump or have greater than normal joint impact are at a greater risk too. Certain breeds such as German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of hip dysplasia and arthritis. Overweight dogs, particularly dogs that have been overweight most of their lives are also at a higher risk. Finally, as age increases the likelihood of joint problems increases too. As the popularity of these supplements grow the information from research and studies is likely to grow as well. In the mean time many find these an excellent way to help their pet.


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