My dogs have taken joint supplements off and on for years but it's really only been in the last year or so that I've been consistent about giving them. I got better about it right around the time that Sam was prescribed Tramadol for the pain associated with arthritis. We were reluctant to put him on a straight NSAID because, at the time, he was having some kidney issues.
The vet and I had discussed other options for dealing with arthritis in the past but it had really gotten to the point that, for Sam to continue to enjoy life, we needed to make a decision. The NSAIDs still had the concern associated with kidney damage so Dr. Hillary and I talked about Adequan.
Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is a sort of injectable version of the more common oral supplement, glucosamine. When Adequan is injected, the joints preferentially take it up and it provides additional cushioning in those joints. It acts as both a treatment and preventative for arthritis.
Last week we finished the four week loading dose period with Sam (2 doses per week). The first few weeks I didn't see too much difference in his behavior. Around week three I started seeing him feel a lot better on his shot days. After the 6th dose I saw a real and extended period of time where he was feeling great and it has continued. Today he had his first maintenance shot. He'll get one shot per week until it seems like that is no longer effective - then we might increase it. He still gets Tramadol on the nights when he seems particularly sore but those are fewer now.
Sam's arthritis is too advanced for this to act like a preventative but it is making him more comfortable and, at just under $8 per shot, it's affordable for me. My vet agreed to teach me how to give the shots (the packaging calls for intramuscular but recently it's been determined that subcu works too) so I don't have to make a trip to the office all the time. Drs. Foster & Smith has the best on line pricing for Adequan that I've been able to find and shipping is free on prescriptions.
I'm a firm believer that all dogs should receive a joint supplement, even as puppies, and especially dogs that participate in any sports (agility, herding, fly ball). With what I've seen and read about Adequan, I would even go so far as to replace an oral supplement with the Adequan when a performance dog starts to age. I'm considering starting Moira (who'll be 6 this year) on it in the next couple of years.
Talk to your vet about arthritis in dogs and Adequan. While there can be some mild side effects, and not all drugs work for all dogs, I've been really happy with the changes I've seen in Sam since he started on it. For more information on Adequan you can visit the Novatis website, http://www.adequancanine.us/index2.shtml.
3 hours ago