Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dogs with arthritis - Adequan - a great medication to ask your vet about!

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, affects a large number of my older canine and feline patients. When addressing early arthritis for many of my patients, I often recommend a combination of weight management, omega-3 fatty acids, an excellent chondroitin/glucosamine supplement (my favorite is Dasuquin), and for some canine patients, a prescription diet such as Joint Management by Purina. For moderate or severe arthritis, in addition to the aforementioned treatments, I will also prescribe pain management medications as needed, and I often also recommend Adequan injections.

Adequan is a polysulfated glycoaminoglycan (GAG). It is a building block of cartilage. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties of its own that helps slow down the actual damage to the cartilage. Adequan, and other GAGs, also promote enzyme systems that help with joint repair, and also help the joints create more lubricating fluid.

When injected, Adequan is distributed to the joints.

Adequan is very safe and is well tolerated. It is given on a tapering dose, typically once a week for 4-6 weeks, then every other week for 4-8 treatments, then once every 3-4 weeks as needed. If a reduction in efficacy is noted, the frequency is increased. It can take several months to notice a positive response.

Adequan can be administered by your veterinarian. You can also be instructed how to administer the medication to your pet, which may reduce the overall cost of the treatment.

Adequan works well with glucosamine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and omega 3 fatty acids.

It should be used with caution in patients with kidney disease or clotting abnormalities. Rarely, diarrhea or injection site pain or inflammation can occur.

I have been pleased with Adequan for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation in a number of my canine and feline patients. While it hasn't worked for all patients, and does not seems as effective for arthritis of the hip and back, in general it seems to be a very effective treatment option for moderate to severe osteoarthritis.

More information about Adequan can be found here:  http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1800

Written by:
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Knoxville, Tennessee 

Here are some other tips to help with an aging dog or cat that suffers from arthritis. Click here


  1. Adequan for dogs is different from other canine osteoarthritis treatments in that it is a DMOAD. Thanks for all your posts!

  2. I have an elderly 16.5 year old that my holistic vet wants to try Adequan on. He currently is on Tramadol 50 MG/ BID; Chinese Herbs, Vitamin C, Salmon Oil and receives Acupuncture, chiropractic and laser therapy for his osteoarthritis. Recently he was diagnosed with renal insufficiency--BUN and Creatnine levels were slightly above the normal range. In the patient information, it says that Adequan should be used with "caution" in animals with kidney disease. What does this mean exactly? Is it contraindicated? Should a lower does be used? Is it not an option? Please advise.


    1. Hi - please make sure you read Dr. Bacon's response below - you may not have gotten notified.

      Dr. Mary

  3. Thank you for your comment. You are taking wonderful care of your senior.

    Adequan is safe and effective in chronic kidney disease and for patients with elevated BUN and creatinine levels.

    There are two types of cases for which I might weight the risks versus benefits of Adequan. Firstm, there have been conflicting studies on the affect of adequan on kidney fibrosis - it was increased in some studies and shown to actually improve with others.

    Secondly, if your dog has been diagnosed with immune mediated kidney disease (this may have required biopsy, or if your dog suffers from a condition such as Lupus), I would likely not use Adequan.

    Otherwise, Adequan should be a safe and effective therapy and should not damage kidneys.

    Thank you so much for your question and best luck with your boy!


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