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Glucosamine - a proven fighter against crippling joint disease for your dogs and cats...

It\'s a fact of life. We, along with our pets, get older. Sometimes the symptoms of aging are the same in both human and canine. When they get older, dogs are susceptible to conditions like arthritis and osteoarthritis, just like we are. You can probably notice a change in your dog\'s behavior after walking her a couple of miles. Instead of staying with you, your dog might begin carrying her hind leg. You take her to the Vet to see if she is dysplastic or a has a problem with her spinal cord or elbows or even the starting of hip displacement. But after an X-ray your Vet declares your dog to have arthritis and recommends some drug treatment, such as aspirin, phenylbutozone, and later maybe Rimadyl.

But then you hear about some clinical trails with Glucosamine on humans suffering osteoarthritis and start wondering if might work as an additional method of treatment. Is it available without a prescription since it is a food supplement, you wonder? And can be administered concurrently with the rimadyl? Because Glucosamine is still somewhat new, the question is whether each is scientifically validated. According to some veterinarians, these products are used widely in veterinary medicines and it seems likely that they work for at least some dogs based on their popularity.

Unfortunately, when evaluating medications for pain relief and for chronic debilitative conditions there is a strong desire for the medications to be effective and have a high placebo effect.

As an example, according to Dr. Mike Richards, DVM, who answers Vet questions on the website VetInfo in the clinical trials for Rimadyl (Rx) the placebo group was estimated to have improved by 15% of the veterinarians and 25% of the clients. On the other hand, these products appear to be safe to use, so why not try? That is the basis we work on in our practice. To the best of my knowledge there should be no problems using these products in conjunction with carprofen (Rimadyl Rx). Dr. Mike, as he is called on his website, also says that he personal experience with Glucosamine is that about half of the owners feel that it makes a significant difference.

However, he goes on the caution that using these treatments doesn\'t help all dogs, and has no real proof one way or another if it works or not. To have more in-depth questions answered about these two treatments, consult your Vet. Joint & Cartilage Management Nutrition Healthy joints are not only important in the ability of dogs to perform well, but also for the comfort of dogs in routine movements such as walking, climbing stairs, and rising.

Glucosamine and chondroitin work together to improve the health of joint cartilage. Since joint health depends on the continued health of this cartilage, this is a very important benefit. Joints, responsible for movement, are made up of a joint cavity filled with synovial fluid, a synovial membrane, and particular cartilage. The particular cartilage acts as a shock absorber and a smooth gliding surface for bones within the joint. The synovial fluid acts as both a lubricant and a source of nutrition for the cartilage. Cartilage is a matrix made up of collagen, hyaluronic acid (component of synovial fluid), and glycosaminoglycans. Because of the mechanical forces of movement and weight bearing, these matrix components are constantly being replenished in order to maintain strength and resilience. This rebuilding process creates a large demand for the building blocks utilized in this process. If these building blocks are not available in adequate levels, the process will breakdown, and eventually lead to degenerative joint disease.

Two major building blocks for cartilage synthesis are Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Glucosamine is responsible for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans within the joint. Chondroitin, while being one of the major gylcosaminoglycans, also acts to inhibit degradative enzymes that promote the breakdown of cartilage.

Since these important building blocks decrease with age, and the incidence of degenerative joint disease increases, Professional has designed a Senior diet with 4 times the amount of glucosamine and chondroitin found in the maintenance diets. This level is close to a therapeutic dose but customers should consult their veterinarian on whether further supplementation is necessary.

Article written by Ian Stewart.

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