Too often, arthritis pain is accepted as a sign of a pet’s natural aging. In reality, arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects your pet’s mobility, confidence, and quality of life. Fortunately, injectable glucosamine is an effective treatment that can manage arthritis pain, and slow disease progression. If your pet is stiff, sore, or has been diagnosed with arthritis, read our Meridian Veterinary Care team’s guide to learn how injectable glucosamine can ease their pain and stiffness. 

Arthritis in pets

An alarming number of dogs and cats develop arthritis—joint inflammation—which may occur in a single joint or several, damaging cartilage, which covers the boney surface that forms a joint. As the cartilage cushion erodes, hard bony spikes (i.e., osteophytes) develop, making movement painful and restrictive. To avoid pain, your pet may change their gait, alter their posture, or altogether avoid activities they once enjoyed. Ultimately, arthritis becomes a vicious cycle in which painful pets are reluctant to exercise, leading to weight gain (i.e., increased stress on joints) and stiffness, which in turn increases their pain and physical-activity avoidance.

Traditional arthritis management for pets

Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial to limiting arthritis’s impact and progression. Often, veterinarians manage patients’ arthritis by recommending nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), weight loss, joint supplements, and low-impact exercise. Although NSAIDs improve a pet’s comfort, anti-inflammatories do not slow or prevent arthritis progression. Fortunately, another option—injectable glucosamine—is available, targeting arthritis where it lives—in the joint.

Addressing pet arthritis at the source with injectable glucosamine

Adequan®—injectable glucosamine whose primary ingredient is glucosamine molecules—is the only medication the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinically approves to treat canine osteoarthritis. Unlike other medications, Adequan® is classified as a disease-modifying osteoarthritis agent (DMOA), currently the only drug in this class.

Because Adequan® is administered via syringe, the medication provides rapid time to treatment. Rather than a pill or tablet, which may take a long time to be digested and metabolized—and may not reach the target tissue in high concentration—Adequan® is administered directly to a thick muscle, which rapidly absorbs the medication—bypassing the entire digestive tract. From the muscle, the active ingredient—polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG)—quickly enters your pet’s circulation and spreads to the joints—typically within a few hours after the injection.

Getting to work—Injectable glucosamine in your pet’s joints

Injectable glucosamine interrupts the damaging arthritis cycle and promotes healthy joint function and reconstruction, easing current and future arthritis pain. PSGAGs’ role likely includes:

  • Attaching to the cartilage to prevent its further destruction
  • Blocking harmful enzymes that would otherwise deteriorate cartilage
  • Preventing additional pain and inflammation by blocking prostaglandins
  • Increasing hyaluronic acid within the joint fluid, which lubricates joint movement
  • Stimulating cartilage production  

Injectable glucosamine guidelines for pets

Injectable glucosamine is arthritic pets’ ideal treatment option, and may help other joint conditions —hip dysplasia, surgical repair (e.g., cruciate ligament rupture), or patellar luxation—because most degenerative joint conditions, including those that are surgically corrected, cause arthritic. Some pets can go four weeks between injections, while others need more frequent injectable glucosamine dosing.

Injectable glucosamine—Part of a larger treatment plan against pet arthritis

Like any chronic condition, arthritis can be a challenging disease to manage, often requiring a multifaceted approach. If your veterinarian recommends that your pet receive injectable glucosamine, they will likely include one or more of these additional therapies:

Combining injectable glucosamine with pain management and mobility-enhancing therapies increases the likelihood of your pet’s successful outcome, and restores their confidence. Effective arthritis treatment can literally add years to your pet’s life.

Is your pet showing arthritis signs?

Because pets tend to hide pain and weakness signs, you may miss subtle changes in your pet’s mobility and comfort. Early arthritis signs can include:

  • Personality or routine changes
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Refusal or hesitation to jump up or down, or use stairs
  • Abnormal posture while standing or sitting
  • Low head carriage
  • Limping

Whether arthritis mildly affects your pet, or they have been battling the disease for years, provide them with the treatment they deserve by contacting our Meridian Veterinary Care team to schedule your pet’s appointment, so we can relieve their pain, improve their mobility, and help them feel fur-ever young.