Animal Hospital News

Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Pets- Cheaper is not better

posted by Dr. Deb on January 2nd, 2013 in Cats, Dogs

dog_hip_arthritis_640Glucosamine and Chondroitin are commonly given to people and pets for treatment of arthritis/ osteoarthritis.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid.

MYTH:  The cheaper products in the grocery/ drug/ vitamin stores are just as good as the expensive stuff my vet recommended at half the price.

While some supplements for pets and people are the same, and it may be  OK to purchase the less expensive brands (double check with your vet to make sure that the human product is, in fact, equivalent), Glucosamine and Chondroitin products are not all created equal.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are both very large molecules that are not readily absorbed by the intestinal tract.  The result is, that not much of the supplement gets into the bloodstream to get to the joints.  Special manufacturing processes can make these molecules more absorbable.  Naturally, that special processing costs money, making the “good quality”, readily absorbed, products more expensive to purchase.  So, the less expensive the product, likely the less well it is absorbed.  That means, more of that cheaper Glucosamine/ Chondroitin supplement will end up eliminated in the feces, rather than helping your pet’s stiff joints.

Even the best Glucosamine/ Chondroitin product is not very well absorbed, so dogs need to take large doses to be worthwhile at all.  15- 20 mg/ lb is recommended.  Human products often require treating your pet with many tablets a day to get even an adequate dose.  The premium veterinary products are going to be high potency, minimizing the number of tablets you have to give.  (As an added bonus, the veterinary products come in yummy flavored treats that pets usually love!)

nutramax logo

Most veterinarians agree that the “gold standard” brand of Glucosamine/ Chondroitin supplements are made by the      Nutramax ® company.  They have been the ground-breakers in the special manufacturing process needed to make your pet’s                    supplements maximally absorbed.

With careful spending on everyone’s mind, it’s tempting to buy the cheapest products.  But, in this case, the cheaper product could just mean that more of your dollars are ending up in the backyard.

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