Osteoarthritis nutraceuticals are drugs that purportedly alter osteoarthritis progression and improve the cartilage environment. Although we cannot cure OA, the faster we respond to slow down its progression, the longer we can preserve the cartilage.
For prevention: Although there is not enough research that confirm the effectiveness of disease-modifying osteoarthritis agents as preventives, some positive results were found by giving a nutraceutical to puppies showing very early hip dysplasia signs. So if your pet is one of the breeds at risk of osteoarthritis, it is a good practice to supplement with these nutraceuticals.
During disease process: To slow the osteoarthritis process and reduce pain.
During rehabilitation: To reduce pain and stimulate production of beneficial molecules in the joint.
Chondroitin Sulfate: May stimulate production of molecules important to cartilage preservation and inhibit degradative enzymes. Can reduce pain and improve function.
Glucosamine: May stimulate production of molecules important to cartilage preservation and inhibit cartilage degradation. May have anti-inflammatory properties and may scavenge oxygen-derived free radicals.
Avocado-Soybean Unsaponifiables (ASU): Stimulates production of molecules important to cartilage preservation and inhibits cartilage degradation
S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe): Enhances production of molecules important to cartilage preservation. Is a free radical scavenger, and has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties
Adequan (canine) by Novartis: This is the only FDA-approved disease-modifying osteoarthritis agent. It is an injectable preparation that stimulates production of molecules important to cartilage preservation. It also inhibits free radical sythesis and inhibits cartilage degradation.
Cosequin (canine and feline) by Nutramax: Contains three ingredients (chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine HCl and manganese ascorbate) which act together to maintain the structure of the joint cartilage while inhibiting the enzymes that break down cartilage. Also helps to support ligaments and tendons, the accessory structures that guard against joint instability.
Dasuquin (canine and feline) by Nutramax: Contains the trademarked ingredients avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), glucosamine hydrochloride, and chondroitin sulfate. It is the most complete joint support supplement available.
This combination helps block enzymes in joints that break down cartilage. These ingredients together have been shown in published studies to protect joint cartilage better than each ingredient alone.
Hyaluronic Acid: Although not approved for use in dogs, hyaluronic acid is approved for people and horses and is sometimes administered to dogs. It reportedly helps restore viscosity of synovial fluid, scavenges free radicals, inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage and stimulates further synthesis of hyaluronic acid by joint cells. Preparations of hyaluronic acid may be directly injected in arthritic joints, but administration requires sterile technique to minimize the risk of intra-articular infection. In addition, the risk of articular cartilage damage by the hypodermic needle must be considered with repeated injections. An intravenous preparation is available for horses; however, one study suggests that the amount available to the joint is quite small in dogs.