A Discussion of Evidence-based Arthritis Management for Dogs

I had the enjoyable experience of participating in a Facebook Live Discussion with Dr. Hannah Capon of the Canine Arthritis Management Project about evidence-based arthritis management for dogs. We talked about how to evaluate treatments for arthritis and whether or not they are working, as well as taking questions about specific treatments from viewers.

Check it out!

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7 Responses to A Discussion of Evidence-based Arthritis Management for Dogs

  1. Carol says:

    This was fantastic! I am so sorry to have missed the Live, but appreciate you posting the recording.

    My 7 year old agility border collie has arthritis in her wrist from an old injury. I’ve retired her from competition. Now she is a hiking dog. My Vet prescribed NSAIDs as needed (which is not very often). She also prescribed Adequan, which did set off some red flags for me. My research shows that Adequan is “polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, and is very similar to the more familiar oral supplement known as glucosamine.” I know glucosamine has very little effect in dogs.

    Do you have any evidence for Adequan being effective? Does it really slow “the disease process through inhibiting some of the destructive process within the joint, as well as some anti-inflammatory effect.” That’s the question I would have asked had I caught this Live.

    Thank-you for continuing to be a voice of reason and evidence in the Veterinarian world. I am a fan!

  2. skeptvet says:

    Adequan was approved by the FDA for use in dogs with arthritis in 1997. The study done to support this approval is theoretically available from the FDA, but I have never been able to find the actual data, just the summary in the prescribing information insert.

    Efficacy: Efficacy of Adequan® Canine was demonstrated in two studies. A laboratory study using radiolabeled PSGAG established distribution of PSGAG into canine serum and synovial fluid following a single intramuscular injection of 2 mg/lb. A clinical field trial was conducted in dogs diagnosed with radiographically-confirmed traumatic and/or degenerative joint disease of 1 or 2 joints. Joints evaluated included hips, stifles, shoulders, hocks and elbows. Fifty-one dogs were randomly assigned to receive either Adequan® Canine at 2 mg/lb of body weight or 0.9% saline. Both treatments were administered by intramuscular injection twice weekly for 4 weeks (8 injections total). Investigators administering treatment and evaluating the dogs were unaware of the treatment assignment. A total of 71 limbs in 51 dogs were evaluated. Of these, 35 limbs in 24 dogs were in the Adequan® Canine treated group. Each lame limb was scored for lameness at a walk, lameness at a trot, pain, range of motion, and functional disability. The scores for the individual parameters were combined to determine a total orthopedic score. At the end of the treatment period, dogs treated with Adequan® Canine showed a statistically significant improvement in range of motion and total orthopedic score over placebo treated control dogs.

    There is also a published study showing no significant difference from placebo.

    It’s widely used in horses, and the evidence is pretty poor for that too. It’s plausible, and there is some limited evidence it might help, but overall I think any benefit is probably small, and the risk is probably negligible. I sue it sometimes when NSAIDs are not enough or not an option, but I have little confidence in it.

  3. Carol says:

    Thank-you so much for that detailed response about Adequan. Carol

  4. Cady says:

    Is there any evidence that N-butyryl glucosamine is helpful?

  5. skeptvet says:

    No reason to think it is meaningfully different form other forms of glucosamine, which probably do little for arthritis.

  6. Billy says:

    Hi, I found your above reply about Adequan very interesting, but the link to the published study (showing no significant difference from placebo) doesn’t work anymore. And I couldn’t find the study myself. Do you have another link by chance? Thank you for the very informative talk, very helpful!

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