As dogs age, they become increasingly susceptible to joint problems and arthritis. These changes are usually most noticeable during activity or when the dog stands up after resting. Dogs with arthritic joint changes may limp, have trouble climbing stairs or getting onto the couch, or they may show signs of discomfort when running or rising.
While advanced joint deterioration may require surgery, mild and moderate joint problems often respond to supplementation with glucosamine and chondroitin, two substances that work together to lubricate the joints, improve joint mobility, and prevent additional joint damage from occurring.
Understanding Joint Function and Degeneration
"Decreasing levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, caused by age, contribute to cartilage breakdown and joint disease."
The joints are responsible for small and large movements and are comprised of cartilage, a joint cavity, and a synovial membrane. The cartilage inside joints works to absorb shock and provide bones with a smooth surface over which to glide within the joint. The cartilage is made of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and glycosaminoglycans. The joint cavity is filled with a lubricating substance called synovial fluid that provides nutrition for the cartilage.
With time and movement, the components that make up the cartilage and synovial fluid are constantly being used up and replenished by the body. This ensures the joints continue to function as designed and protects the joints from damage. If anything interferes with this process, the joints are unable to maintain their resilience and strength and degenerative joint disease occurs.
The Role of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin benefit the joints in many ways. Glucosamine synthesizes hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans inside the joints, and chondroitin works to inhibit enzymes that promote cartilage breakdown. Chondroitin also plays a role in the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans. There are dozens of joint supplements for dogs available, and many of them include glucosamine and chondroitin as their main ingredients. Products like Dasuquin combine these two ingredients with avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), and other products like Glyco-Flex or S3 Soft Chews add ingredients like Green Lipped Mussel or omega-3 fatty acids.
Unfortunately, natural levels of glucosamine and chondroitin decrease with age. This contributes to cartilage breakdown and joint disease. Supplementing with these two substances can replenish their levels inside the joints and improve joint health.
It may take six or more weeks for benefits to show after supplementation begins. Glucosamine and chondroitin are not pain relievers and are not intended to treat any specific underlying joint diseases that may be causing or contributing to joint deterioration. However, supplementing with these substances can greatly benefit joint health, improve existing symptoms, and prevent additional joint damage from occurring. Moreover, they are naturally occurring and cause few, if any, side effects.
The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition.
This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not
be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of
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