Great news for owners of dogs with arthritis, and not so great for a lot of dog arthritis supplement manufacturers! Study predicts that you will be able to help your arthritic dog with joint pain caused by arthritis with the use of a new product that is a natural dog supplement based on a variety of naturally obtained medicinal plants and some dietary supplements, and no side effects are guaranteed.
Even though most other dog supplements for arthritis rarely had any side effects, University of Montreal’s Faculty of Veterinary’s confidence in their new discovery feels like a breath of fresh air. Their findings were published in Research in Veterinary Science . But how great this news truly is remains to be seen, as more testing needs to be done and responses from more dog owners need to be evaluated.
“While acupuncture and electrical stimulation are two approaches that have been shown to have positive effects on dogs, until now a few studies have investigated a plant-based approach to therapy,” explained Professor Éric Troncy, senior author of the study, in the press release.
Troncy and his team worked with 32 dogs (and their owners!) who had been diagnosed with arthritis by X-ray and orthopaedic exam, and who all weighed more than 20 kilograms. By drawing on existing rodent studies and working with Pierre Haddad of the university’s Department of Pharmacology, Troncy developed two formulas for his trial. These formulas are not currently commercially available.
A closer look at the new dog arthritis supplement
The first formula, composed of curcumin, devil’s claw, black current, Indian frankincense (Salai), willow bark, pineapple bromelaine and camomile, was developed to treat arthritis-induced inflammation. The second included the same ingredients, plus dietary supplements such as omega 3, chondroitin sulfate and glutamine, and was formulated in the hope that it would promote the regeneration of articulations.
Half the dogs received the first formula for four weeks and then the second formula for another four weeks. The other half, acting as the control, received a placebo. The outcomes were tested using three methods. Firstly, the dogs were filmed as they walked at a consistent speed over a special platform that captures the strength of each paw. Secondly, a special electronic collar recorded the dogs’ daily activities. And finally, the owners were asked to provide their own evaluations of their dog’s behaviour.
The researchers were able to identify an improvement by the fourth week of the trial.
“After the eight week course, on average, the strength of the dogs receiving treatment had improved to the equivalent of a kilo of extra strength per paw, which is moreover. None of these dogs saw their health decline, unlike 35.8% of the dogs who were given the placebo,” said Maxim Moreau, who was first author of the study.
The improvements were also reflected in the dogs’ daily lives. The collars revealed that the dogs receiving treatment maintained their physical activity, and in fact the group average increased from six hours of daily activity to eight. Meanwhile, the dogs receiving the placebo were progressively less active.
“In some cases, we recorded the dogs to ensure that the collar was recording actual physical activity rather than movements such as scratching,” Troncy explained.
Nonetheless, the ratings from the owners were more mixed.
“This third evaluation was more subjective and the contrast between the test group and the control group less stark. We suspect that the owner may have forgotten what the animal’s behaviour was like before it developed arthritis,” added Troncy.
The findings raise the possibility of offering a new form of treatment to human beings.
“The model of evaluation that we have used is the best for predicting the efficacy of anti-arthritis treatments. We can therefore consider that clinical trials on humans would have a good chance of having positive outcomes,” concluded Troncy.
Who’s behind this study
This study was funded in part by a grant from ArthroLab Inc., an ongoing New Opportunities Fund grant (#9483) and a Leader Opportunity Fund grant (#24601) from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for the pain/function equipment, a Discovery Grant (#327158-2008; #441651-2013) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for the bio-analyses and salaries, and by the Osteoarthritis Chair of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre, Université de Montréal.
Maxim Moreau received a doctoral scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (TGF-53914) — Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research program (MENTOR) and a doctoral scholarship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé.
- Maxim Moreau, Bertrand Lussier, Jean-Pierre Pelletier, Johanne Martel-Pelletier, Christian Bédard, Dominique Gauvin, Eric Troncy. A medicinal herb-based natural health product improves the condition of a canine natural osteoarthritis model: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Research in Veterinary Science, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.09.011