Margaret C. Saiki, D.V.M.,
Over 20 Years of Experience!
Former Medical Director
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Series Pain Management in dogs: Glucosamine

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Series on Chronic Arthritis in the Canine: Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are natural substances found in healthy cartilage. Glucosamine is an amino sugar while Chondroitin sulfate is a complex carbohydrate that helps cartilage retain water.
Many people do not know that there is a controversy over the effectiveness of these products for use in arthritis.  There are many products in the market place for both companion animals and humans promoting this nutraceutical.
Initially studies where based on anecdotal evidence. This is evidence based on personal anecdotes and testimonials. The difficulty with this type of evidence, is that is can be influenced by a placebo effect.
Laboratory studies suggest that glucosamine may stimulate production of cartilage-building proteins. Other research suggests that chondroitin may inhibit production of cartilage-destroying enzymes and fight inflammation.
The results of one of the largest and best-designed clinical trial, the Glucosamine/chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial (GAIT) have been recently released. This clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health concluded that these products:
“[Based on this study], it seems prudent to prudent to tell our patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee that neither glucosamine hydrochloride nor chondroitin sulfate alone has been shown to be more efficacious than placebo for the treatment of knee pain.” …..Three months of treatment is a sufficient period for the evaluation of efficacy; if there is no clinically significant decrease in symptoms by this time, the supplements should be discontinued. “
Lastly, before purchasing these products it is advisable to consult either Consumer Reports, or to select products noted to meet the standards set up by U.S. Pharmacopeia.
For an evaluation of you dogs needs for arthritis pain management call my mobile veterinary house call practice located in San Jose, Ca. at 408-399-5353
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