Arthritis in Cats
These compounds appear to modify the progression of osteoarthritis by
preventing the further breakdown of cartilage. Breakdown of cartilage is the
first step in the development of osteoarthritis. Chondroprotectants are most
effective when used early in the course of the disease.
Chondroprotective agents are nutraceuticals-products that lie somewhere
between a nutrient and a drug. Nutraceuticals are believed to have medical
value based on subjective evidence of their effectiveness, although clinical
evidence based on controlled studies is lacking for many of these. Unlike
drugs, nutraceuticals do not undergo an approval process and are not regulated
by a federal agency. Numerous controlled studies in humans, limited studies
done on dogs and cats, and anecdotal reports suggest these substances do have
medical value for arthritic cats.
Most nutraceuticals used to treat osteoarthritis contain glucosamine,
polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, and chondroitin sulfates-compounds known to be
involved in the synthesis and repair of joint cartilage. Examples include
Cosequin, Glycoflex, and Sea Flex. These compounds are given orally, some as
treats. Because cats are small animals, it is important to choose joint
supplements that are formulated specifically for cats.