Top Animal Health
Concerns For
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Top Animal Health
Concerns For Pet Owners

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For Veterinarians
(Canine and Feline)
(Dog and Cat)


Osteoarthritis is characterized by joint pain, cartilage thinning and/or destruction, decreased viscosity of joint fluid, and a release of an entire complex of inflammatory substances. These substances include, but not limited to, the following:


» Free radicals including reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as peroxides and superoxides;

» Prostaglandins (especially those whose synthesis involves COX-2 activity);

» Inflammatory cytokine TNF alpha, IL-1, IL-4 and other inflammatory interleukins;

» Nitrous Oxide;

» Adhesion molecules (selectins, integrins, immunoglobulins, and mucin--like glycoproteins—which attract lymphocytes, causing more inflammation);

» Substance P; and

» MMPs (matrix metalloproteinases, which are destructive enzymes)


Drugs such as COX2 inhibitors primarily target one problem on the list. The same is true for natural substances such as glucosamine. Rather than assuming that one or two substances (or drugs) represents the best treatment; a better approach would be to use multiple treatments to more effectively address the multiple factors involved.





The following nutraceuticals or natural/herbal formulas can also provide effective treatment for your canines and felines living with arthritis.





Integrative Medicine


» Glucosamine sulfate: The safest and widely-used remedies for arthritis. Helps rehabilitate the damaged cartilage and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent relieving some of the joint pain. When used alone, it helps the body manufacture its own chondroitin.


» Chondroitin sulfate: Helps prevent the degradation of joint cartilage and reduces inflammation. Often used in combination with glucosamine in protecting against future cartilage degeneration.


» Curcumin: A powerful anti-inflammatory supplement – thereby reducing joint pain. Derived from turmeric (a herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family and native to tropical South Asia), curcumin also offers the crucial benefit of protecting your dog, cat’s liver, kidneys and GI tract against the side effects of NSAIDs. When using curcumin as a treatment, it is important to use the highest potency and absorption rate available. (Maybe link to the article featured in the Knowledge Minute??)


» Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): Often recommended by veterinarians. Helps form glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate and important amino acids. Animal studies have shown MSM helps maintain normal articular cartilage. May also help inhibit pain.


» Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus): Research shows that perna mussels are effective in managing degenerative joint diseases and arthritis (in both animals and humans). Less joint pain, joint stiffness, inflammation and improved mobility have been shown.


» Bromelain: An anti-inflammatory and pain reducer.


» Boswellia: An anti-inflammatory which also increases blood supply to the joints for increased joint repair.


» Vitamin C: Enhances the production of collagen which provides soft-tissue joint support.


» Zinc, Selenium and Manganese: Helps the body utilize antioxidants.


» Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids: Helps reduce joint tenderness and morning stiffness.


» Shark cartilage: Helps stimulate cartilage repair.


» Acupuncture.


Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease
(Reference: Veterinarians’ Desk Reference)


Species affected: Cats, Dogs
Background: Decrease in viscosity and loss of lubricative effect of the joint fluid, calcium deposits on the articular ends of bones as well as in the soft tissue of the joint capsule and ligaments.


Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, generally worse upon arising or in cool weather and improves with movement, in some cases worse with exercise; bony growths visible.

Diagnostics: Physical examination, radiographs, ultrasound.

Special Notes: It may be necessary to address the origin of the problem as well as supporting the healing process. Causes may include: breed or familial predisposition, poor conformation, weakening of the ligaments and tendons, injury to the joint, poor-quality food, autoimmune conditions, allergies and "leaky bowel syndrome." In some animals on long-term supplementation, it may be advisable to change types of products periodically (yearly) to enhance the health of the joints in a variety or ways, especially if the response to one product is only moderate.

Principles for Supplementation: Anti-inflammatory, nourish the joint.








Cats: 1 capsule sid
Dogs: 1 capsule/25 lb bid

Anti-inflammatory; source of glycosaminoglycans, including glucosamine; decreases pain; supports production of collagen.

Buffered C Powder12

Cats: 125 mg bid
Dogs: 10 mg/lb bid

Stimulates phagocytic effect of leukocytes, nitrate scavenger, aids in synthesis of collagen and carnitine.


Dogs: ¼ capsule/25 lb bid

Use in addition to a pure calcium or calcium/phosphorus supplement; metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids; catalyst for many enzymes; required for ATP production.

CurcuVET- SA5012

Cats: ½ capsule daily
Dogs: 1 capsule per 25 lb daily

Curcumin has ant-inflammatory properties, hepatoprotective effects, increases glutathione levels, down-regulates tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), nitric oxide (NO), and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB), decreases free radicals in colonic mucosa.


Dogs: 1 capsule per 75 lb daily

Curcumin has ant-inflammatory properties, hepatoprotective effects, increases glutathione levels; down-regulates TNF-α, NO, and NF-κB; decreases free radicals in colonic mucosa.


Cats: 125 mg bid
Dogs: 10 mg/lb bid


E400 Selenium26

Cats: ¼ tablet sid
Dogs: ¼ tablet/25 lbs sid

Antioxidant; anti-inflammatory; vitamin E and selenium are synergistic. Selenium in high doses is toxic; vitamin E in high doses can raise blood pressure and can increase coagulation time. Do not exceed recommended dose; use less in case of heart failure or if animal is on digoxin.

Glucosamine &

Cats: ¼ capsule sid
Dogs: ½ capsule/25 lb sid

This combination stimulates the production of cartilage cells, while inhibiting destructive enzymatic action on those cells. 

Glucosamine Sulfate12

Cats: ¼ capsule sid
Dogs: ½ capsule/25 lb sid

Important building block of cartilage.

Glycoflex II8

Dogs: as directed by weight

Anti-inflammatory; nutrients for cartilage formation.

Glycoflex II Double Strength8

Dogs: as directed by weight

Anti-inflammatory; nutrients for cartilage formation.

Glycoflex II for Cats8

Cats: as directed by weight

Anti-inflammatory; nutrients for cartilage formation.


1 capsule per 20 lb bid or
1 scoop per 20 lb bid

Supports normal joint mobility and healthy joint function.


½ to 1 tablet per 30 lb

Provides support for connective tissue, skin, and joints. Designed specifically for dogs with greater need for joint and connective tissue support. 


Cats: 1 capsule sid
Dogs: 1 capsule/25 lb bid

Anti-inflammatory herbs.  

Small Animal Antioxidant12

Cats: 1 capsule sid
Dogs: 2 capsules/25 lb sid

Antioxidants to reduce damage to joints.


To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference




Do not self-medicate your pet’s arthritis on your own as many human anti-inflammatories can be dangerous to your animals. For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is toxic to cats. Aspirin is also extremely dangerous for cats because they can be easily overdosed.


Simple Home Remedies:                

» Make sure your canine or feline’s diet is a high-quality food with proper nutrients and supplements. Always make sure you’re feeding the proper amount of food to avoid excess weight which will only worsen the arthritic symptoms.

» Properly provide supplements which reduce the swelling and pain from arthritis.

» Raise your dog’s food and water dish (for the optimal feeder height for your canine, measure from the ground to the top of your dog's shoulder and then subtract six inches (for small dogs, subtract 4 inches).

»Use a carpeted (offering good traction) ramp for stairs, couches or beds where your pet normally goes.

» Put up a baby-gate to cut off access to stairs.

» Put down non-skid runners on slippery surfaces like wood, linoleum or tile for traction and warmth.

» If the litter box has high sides, cut a big enough opening on one side to allow for easy access for your feline. Leave just one or two inches at the bottom so litter does not spill out.

» Keep your dog and his bed warm on cold, damp days. Use a soft, well-padded bed for your dog.

» Apply moist heat to affected joints (a hot water bottle with warm water or a towel soaked in warm water).

» Give your canine and feline a massage to increase flexibility, circulation and calmness. You should be trained by an animal massage professional beforehand to avoid hurting your dog or aggravating the affected joint.

» Always supervise and support your dog when they are walking, climbing stairs or getting in or out of the car.

» Groom your pet regularly. As flexibility and mobility becomes limited, so does self-grooming by your pet. Regular brushing helps maintain good hygiene and also helps relax and calm an anxious animal in discomfort.


The proper exercise is critical for the arthritic dog or cat. Avoiding all exercise will cause the joints to ‘seize up’ and allow for further degradation of the affected joint. Light (and proper) exercise helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint thereby helping to stabilize the joint; it keeps the tendons and ligaments flexible, encourages blood flow to the joint and also prevents obesity.


Just like with people, low-impact exercise works best for animals living with arthritis. Swimming or walking under water (aquatic therapy) strengthens the muscles around the affected joints and helps maintain a more stable joint. Controlled leash walking is also recommended for your canine. DO NOT play fetch with your arthritic dog to avoid reinjuring or overstressing the joint. It is important to supervise your arthritic animal as much as possible. Once proper treatment (including drug-related and/or homeopathic) begins reducing or eliminating the symptoms of pain and/or stiffness, your dog or may try to resume their normal level of activity since they are now feeling less pain. It is important to restrict them from doing this to reduce further injury, aggravation of the joints and additional pain.


In severe cases of arthritis, surgery may be required to remove chips of damaged bone (called an arthroscopy) or reconstruct affected joints or even fuse them (called arthrodesis) together.


To help you quickly find the right Integrative Medicine formulas and manufacturers to help treat your dogs, cats and horses, please refer to the Veterinarians’ Desk Reference




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