Many pet owners give their dogs and cats supplements for joint pain and arthritis, but a new analysis of such products finds many don’t meet the claims manufacturers make on the labels.
Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, said a team of his researchers tested the quality of several supplements for dogs and cats containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and other ingredients and found them wanting.
“We discovered that a certain chewable treat that claimed to contain 400 milligrams of chondroitin actually contained none and another liquid product contained only 8 percent of its listed chondroitin,” Cooperman tells Newsmax Health
“Chondroitin is an expensive ingredient and has a history of coming up short on independent tests of pet supplements.”
ConsumerLab.com’s tests further identified that arsenic contaminated a third product, possibly due to green-lipped mussel, one of the listed ingredients. Arsenic can be toxic to the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, lungs and skin, says Cooperman.
“Pet owners face a difficult challenge trying to help their animals with supplements,” he acknowledges. “First, the [U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration] devotes very little time overseeing the quality of these products and we have found in our research that pet supplements are more likely to have quality problems than those targeted for people.
“Second, you really need to question the evidence on whether or not any product can truly help with joint problems. There is limited evidence that there is a benefit from glucosamine and chondroitin in small animals as well as from Boswellia. The evidence is even weaker for MSM.”
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate occur naturally in the body but the glucosamine found in supplements is derived from the shells of shrimp or crabs. Chondroitin sulfate is derived generally from pig or cow cartilage, but even shark and chicken cartilage have been used in supplements.
In humans, the combination seems to be effective in some osteoarthritis patients with moderate to severe pain. Although animal studies have been limited, benefits have been seen especially in horses.
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) also occurs naturally but the supplements are produced synthetically. It’s been shown to be effective in treating pain associated with osteoarthritis and in humans, has been proposed for treatment in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of the bladder, muscle spasms and even cancer.
In veterinary medicine, MSM is used to treat muscle and tendon soreness in horses. It has not been well studied in small animals, says Cooperman.
Boswellia appears to be a potent anti-inflammatory and a study on dogs revealed that those with chronic joint and spinal disease benefited from a daily dose of 400 milligrams of Boswellia extract per 10 kilograms of body weight. Even after only two weeks, overall efficiency was noted in 71 percent of dogs studied.
The three products that passed ConsumerLab.com’s tests were K-10+ for dogs, Cosequin DS Plus MSM for dogs, and Cosequin for cats.
The two products for dogs did contain the amount of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM listed on the label.
Cosequin DS Professional Line Maximum Strength Plus MSM was the least expensive and comes as a chewable tablet costing 47 cents.
K-10+, a powder that’s added to the dog’s water, costs $1.08 per packet. It provides the same amount of chondroitin as two tablets of Cosequin DS with about the same amount of MSM, but less glucosamine
The only product that was approved for cats was Cosequin Joint Health Supplement, a powder that is sprinkled on food, costing about 16 to 31 cents daily and includes both glucosamine and chondroitin.
“Before beginning any supplementation for your pet, make sure that you check with your veterinarian to ensure that you have the correct diagnosis,” says Cooperman. “As with any supplementation, you need to make sure that the treatment is appropriate for the ailment. Should you choose to supplement on your own with generic products, check with your vet to get the correct dosage for your animal.”
For more information on this report and others, visit the organization’s Website
. Look for the flask-shaped seal of approval to ensure products are CL approved.
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