Category Archives: Arthritis


By Dr. Karen Burgess


What are symptoms of arthritis in pets?

“Slowing down”, fatigue, difficulty rising, reluctance to go up and down stairs or jump, abnormal aggression, and lagging behind on normal length walks may all be signs of joint pain and/or arthritis.

What is Adequan?

Adequan is an injectable polysulfatated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG or GAG). In common terms, it is an injectable medication that when given regularly, acts as a lubricant and inhibitor of proteins that damage joint cartilage. Adequan provides the joints with chondroitin, a GAG that helps with compression in the joint. It also allows for production of collagen which helps create building blocks to make new cartilage. In summary, Adequan protects and helps rebuild joints slowing down the development of osteoarthritis

How is Adequan given?

Adequan is given as an injection either in the muscle or under the skin (subcutaneously). The dose is tapered down from twice weekly initially, to once monthly. These shots are typically not painful and relatively easy for owners to administer at home with some instruction. It is important to understand the annual cost of Adequan is significantly less than the initial four months due to this tapering dose.

What benefits are seen with Adequan usage?  What are the potential risks?

Adequan is a chronic joint pain supportive medication. Pets that benefit from Adequan typically show increased mobility, decreased pain, and overall improvement in arthritis symptoms. This improvement can take several weeks to appreciate. In cats, Adequan is one of the safest available arthritis management tools available. Very rarely, pets are sore at the site of injection for a short period after administration. This is much less likely with subcutaneous injection.


Arthritis options, Canine

Arthritis Treatment Options
By Dr. Karen Burgess

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Prescription obtained from your veterinarian.  Human examples include aspirin and motrin, but neither of these should ever be used in dogs.  Veterinary approved products include etodolac, carporfen, deracoxib, tepoxalin, meloxicam, and firocoxib.  The goal over time is to reduce the amount of these products used by using other more natural remedies (see below)

Glucosamine has been shown to have a preventative effect with patients receiving it prior to an acute joint injury- allowing the injury to heal more quickly than those who start to receive it afterwards.  80% of glucosamine products do not contain the amounts of glucosamine indicated on the label.  Cosamin DS, made by Nutramax has historically been a reliable product and contains not only glucosamine HCl but also chondroitin sulfate and manganese.

Recommended product:  Cosamin DS, purchased at Costco or Sams, 230 count,  1500 mg capsules, $59.99, 50-100 pounds take 1 capsule orally daily, $0.26/day


Adequan (polysulfated GAGs)
GAGs are building materials for joints, have anti-inflammatory properties of their own that help slow down the actual damage to the cartilage, and they help the joints create more lubricating fluid.  Prescribed in significant quantities at first, dosage decreases over time: given as an injection twice weekly for 4 weeks, once weekly for 4 weeks, every other week for 4 doses, every third week for 4 weeks, then once monthly for life.

 50-100 pound dog $55.00-$76.00/injection; after first 2-3 weeks typically will teach owner to administer at home which greatly decreases expense.

Prescription diet J/D is clinically proven to reduce pain in dogs with arthritis and to help dogs with arthritis walk & run better, play better and climb stairs more easily.  82% of dogs fed j/d showed improvement in weight bearing ability.

$74.78 for a 27.5# or $2.00/day for a 50# dog (27.5# bag will last a 50# dog 36 days feeding the recommended 3 ½ cups per day)

Additional recommended therapies include weight loss, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and stem cell therapy.