chondroitin is used for arthritic and intervertebral disk problemsWhat is chondroitin?

Chondroitin sulfate is the major glycosaminoglycan (GAGS – see separate sheet found in this series) found in cartilage. It attracts fluid inside joints, helping to ensure shock absorption and nourishment of the tissues that line the joint. Like glucosamine, with which it is often combined in supplements, chondroitin may also slow the production of inflammatory mediators that are destructive to the joint.

Animal cartilage is the only dietary source of chondroitin, although it can be synthesised from its glucosamine precursor. Commercially available forms of chondroitin sulphate include bovine, poultry and shark cartilage. Shark cartilage supplements are not recommended because they possess no distinct advantage over bovine cartilage, and pose a significant threat to the integrity of the world’s oceans.

Why recommend administration of chondroitin to my pet?

Any pet with degenerative joint disease and arthritis can benefit from treatment with chondroitin. It also has shown promise in injectable form for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (spongy cartilage pads between vertebrae) and in the oral form as a method of replenishing the glycosaminoglycan layer that normally protects mucosal (mucous membrane of internal structures) surfaces such as the bladder and gut.

How much experience is there with the use of chondroitin in pets?

Clinical experience is extensive in the use of chondroitin in pets.

What species of animals are being treated regularly with chondroitin?

Horses, dogs, and cats are treated with chondroitin routinely.

How much research has been conducted on this supplement?

Several double blind placebo-controlled studies in humans demonstrate a beneficial effect of chondroitin in the management of pain associated with arthritis.

A recent study at the University of Montreal, however, failed to demonstrate a significant benefit of a chondroitin nutraceutical on gait in 71 dogs with osteoarthritis over 60 days. Clinical experience likewise suggests that some dogs and cats may appreciably benefit from chondroitin administration and others not at all.

It is difficult to anticipate which animals are most likely to respond. Given the potential for benefit and the extremely low risk of any adverse side effects, Chondroitin (with glucosamine) supplementation is always recommended for animals with joint pain.

"Given the potential for benefit and the extremely low risk of any adverse side effects, Chondroitin (with glucosamine) supplementation is always recommended for animals with joint pain."

Where a benefit is seen, doses of more expensive and potentially deleterious drugs may be reduced, including the NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, carprofen and meloxicam.

Because chondroitin protects mucosal barriers, it may not only enhance pain relief in animals administered NSAIDS but help protect their intestinal tracts from ulceration which are occasionally seen as a side effect of NSAID use.

How can my pet benefit from chondroitin?

Pets with arthritis may experience significant pain reduction, allowing improved strength and mobility in arthritic limbs.

chondroitin can reduce the need for NSAIDSHow successful is chondroitin?

Chondroitin (and Glucosamine) is one of the most commonly used nutraceuticals. Benefits from chondroitin supplementation seem to vary from animal to animal but may be highly beneficial in reducing pain-causing lameness. A landmark study in 2001 showed that combining glucosamine and chondroitin worked better than either alone in preventing cartilage damage and both worked well when given orally.

How safe is chondroitin?

Chondroitin appears to be very safe. Risk of adverse side effects from chondroitin supplementation is extremely low. No adverse effect on glucose (blood sugar) regulation in diabetics has been identified, despite the content of glucose in glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin.

Where do I obtain chondroitin and do I need a prescription?

You do not need a prescription to buy these products. However, we would be happy to discuss our preferred products and appropriate doses of any products you choose. Please feel free to talk to one of the vets.

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