Chondroprotectant Agents and Your Pet

IMG_99281-150x150Glucosamine and chondroitin are compounds derived from the cartilage and connective tissue of shellfish and mammals. These compounds are thought to encourage the production of joint fluid (the lubricant of the joint) and to slow the degeneration of cartilage in the face of arthritis or joint abnormalities. It is felt by some that they may actually help damaged cartilage repair or regenerate to some degree. Recently, orthopedic specialists have been encouraging the use of glucosamine and chondroitin in any young dog at risk for musculoskeletal problems, perhaps preserving joint health and delaying the onset of arthritis.

While the use of these products in people is relatively recent, veterinarians have been recommending the use of glucosamine and chondroitin for 15-20 years. Many of you have seen or may even be taking products that contain them. Unfortunately, these products are considered food additives, or nutraceuticals, and are not subject to the FDA standards that drugs and medications are held to. Because of this, there is a tremendous variability in the purity and effectiveness in the products available over the counter.

Dasuquin, made by Nutramax Laboritories, is regarded as the gold standard of these products. It contains MSM and plant extracts that support joint health. It is considered unsurpassed in safety and quality, and is the ideal product for an initial trial of glucosamine and chondroitin. Once the effectiveness of the product is established, other products may be substituted to see if they are equally effective. Two alternative brands that we feel are often adequate are Nature Made (Whole Foods, Target, Montanita Coop) and General Nutrition Center products. Most of these tablets or capsules contain 500 mg. of glucosamine and 400-500 mg. of chondroitin. Be sure to look carefully at the dosage listed, as the amounts given are often “per serving” not per tablet.

Below is the recommended dose for a pet the size of a dog (or cat). It often takes 3-4 weeks before an effect is seen. It is safe to use these products with aspirin, Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Previcox.

Initial Dose
Under 10 lbs250 mg each125 mg each
11-25 lbs500 mg each250 mg each
26-50 lbs1000 mg each500 mg each
51-100 lbs1500 mg each1000 mg each
Over 100 lbs2000 mg each1500 mg each

For more information, talk to your veterinarian.