Osteoarthritis is a common problem in dogs. Dr. Mychajlonka, also known as Dr. Mych – a veterinarian at Las Vegas’s own Craig Road Animal Hospital, in this second in an on going series of posts, discusses nutraceuticals and their use in the treatment this debilitating disease. Part one of this series on Osteoarthritis can be found here.

Dr. Mychajlonka

By Kurt Mychajlonka, DVM

3: What are Nutraceuticals, and how can they help?

Nutraceuticals is term combining the words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical” and refers to a food, or food product, that provides health and medical benefits including the prevention of disease. Omega 3 fatty acid “EPA diets,” Glucosamine and condroitin sulphate suppliments, Avocado soybean unsaponifiables, and Manganese Ascorbate. Are all examples of nutraceuticals that may be recommended as separate supplements to be used in combination with other medications / treatments. For example, your veterinarian may want your dog to be fed Hill’s Metabolic diet to encourage weight loss, but then add a Glucosamine and condroitin sulphate supplement that also includes Avocado soybean unsaponifiables to help treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Not all nutraceuticals are created equal!

4: There are so many Nutraceuticals for osteoarthritis, including ones sold at my local supermarket – which ones are right for my dog?

Veterinarians use a system called ACCLAIM (see below) to evaluate drugs, but nutraceuticals in particular. You can use it also! There are always lower cost nutraceuticals, but they not all created equally.

A = A name you recognize? Products manufactured by an established company that provides educational materials is preferable to equivalent products manufactured by a new, unknown, company.
C = Clinic Experience Companies that support clinical research and have their products in clinical trials for safety, efficacy, or bioavailability that are published in peer reviewed journals are more likely to have a quality product.
C = Contents All ingredients should be clearly indicated on the product label.
L = Label Claims Label claims that are too good to be true probably are. Products with realistic label claims based on results of scientific studies, rather than testimonials, are more likely to be reputable.
A = Administration recommendations Dosing instructions should be accurate and easy to follow.
I = Identification of Lot A lot identification number or some other tracking system indicates that a pre and / or post market surveillance system exists to ensure product quality. In addition, companies that have instituted good manufacturing practices and other quality control techniques (such as tamper resistant packaging) provides evidence of a long-term investment in their product and company.
M = Manufacturer Information Basic company information should be clearly stated on the label. Preferably, this should include a website and / or details for contacting customer support.