Manufacturer’s dog supplement description: “TerraMax Pro’s glucosamine for dogs has been recommended by veterinarians for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds and activity levels! Liquid joint supplements for dogs have been used in Europe for over 20 years and studies have proven that liquid supplements absorb much more quickly and efficiently than tablets, chews or any other form.”[tabs][tab title =”Overview”]Terramax is a glucosamine and chondroitin supplement that is given in liquid form.[/tab] [tab title =”How It Works”]The active ingredients in the supplement are essential for the synthesis of cartilage. They are found naturally in the body, but in degenerative joint disease cartilage is broken down faster and/or not built up as quickly, and so having addition chondroitin and glucosamine available may help offset this issue with the cartilage by making it easier to build.[/tab] [tab title=”Uses”]The supplement is primarily intended for the mitigation of degenerative joint disease, though the manufacturer makes a number of claims for the efficacy of the product that are not supported by clinical studies (such as improving wound healing, incontinence and animals carrying parasites “benefiting” from supplementation).
Glucosamine and chondroitin are thought to have a positive effect on pain and range of motion in some cases of joint degeneration in dogs, though large scale reviews of the clinical trials carried out in humans are quite inconclusive about their clinical effects.[/tab] [tab title =”Side Effects”]There are few side effects associated with administration of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Occasionally the dog may suffer gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhoea or bloating, but these will go away if the supplement is no longer given.[/tab] [tab title =”Dosage”]Terramax should be added to the dog’s food, with the amount given dependent on the dog’s weight.[/tab][/tabs]
Terramax Pro Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs
In some small trials on glucosamine and chondroitin in dogs, one showed some effect on pain relief but not on stiffness or range of motion in the limb. The other trial demonstrated that glucosamine and chondroitin preparation had no effect on pain, stiffness or range of motion compared with placebo .
It should be noted, however, that the first of these studies did not include a placebo group, and was sponsored by the manufacturer of a glucosamine supplement, while the second study was sponsored by the manufacturer of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, which was also tested in the same trial.
Some human studies are showing a positive effect, particularly for the effects of combined glucosamine and chondroitin, while other studies show little to no positive effect .
Despite the claim of the manufacturer that liquid supplement taken orally is more effective than a pill, there is no evidence to support that claim, although several studies have compared the uptake of orally administered glucosamine with other routes.
In rats , a comparison of oral, intra venous and intra peritoneal routes showed better bioavailability via the latter two. It was also shown that in dogs (beagles), oral dosing was effective for availability of glucosamine and chondroitin, though no comparison was made of liquid vs. solid oral administration . That being said, it’s reasonable to assume that liquid-form glucosamine and chondroitin are absorbed more rapidly than solid form, simply because there are fewer “packing” or inert “bulking” agents to get in the way of absorption from the gut, further evidence is still needed.
Terramax is sold primarily through Amazon, where it has garnered a lot of positive reviews from dog owners. Unfortunately, glucosamine supplements are likely to attract a significant “caregiver placebo effect” due to glucosamine’s status as a widely used supplement in human medicine. Therefore, it’s important to identify objective measures of improvement for the pet taking the supplement in order to decide whether it is worthwhile to continue supplementing long term.
In contrast with many of Terramax’s competitors, this supplement is produced in the USA in facilities that subscribe to cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice – a requirement for manufacture of drugs).
How would Terramax help with dog’s joint problems?
Joints have a layer of cartilage over each end of the bone, which acts as a shock absorber and lubricant, and decreases wear and tear on the bones. Cartilage is made up of a small number of cells called chondrocytes (less than 1% of total cartilage), which synthesis new cartilage and repair damage; collagen fibres (around 15% of total cartilage), which provide a framework for the cartilage structure and give it tensile strength; and proteoglycans (also around 15%) which are long, branched molecules made of a long chain sugar called a Glocosaminoglycan, plus a protein. These are important because they are highly water-attracting and are folded in such a way as to fill as much space as possible, leading to their role in shock absorption.
During joint degeneration in dogs, the amount of cartilage present is decreased, either through decreased synthesis or increased break down (e.g. due to decreased numbers of chondrocytes in aging joints ). Supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin provides your dog’s body with additional material to synthesise or repair cartilage. It’s known to be bioavailable after oral dosing in humans  (and presumably works the same way in dogs), although interestingly, circulating levels of glucosamine go down when given at the same time as chondroitin, according to a study in humans from 2010 .
Terramax contains, per fluid oz, 1600mg Glucosamine Hydrochloride and 1200mg Chondroitin Sulphate. It also contains the active ingredients MethylSuplhonylMethane (1000mg), Sodium Hyaluronate (10mg) and Manganese Chelate (7mg)
Active ingredients in Terramax
Glucosamine is a short sugar molecule that makes up a precursor to Glycosaminoglcans. Chondroitin is itself a glycosaminoglycan, as is Hyaluronic Acid (in this supplement as Sodium Hyaluronate). Intra-articular sodium hyaluronate has been shown to be successful in decreasing the speed of degeneration in joints , and somewhat in relieving pain , but no studies appear to exist on the efficacy of oral dosing.
MethylSulphonylMethane is a sulphur-containing compound, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In some small studies, MSM showed an effective response in decreasing pain in osteoarthritis , particularly when combined with glucosamine.
Manganese is a component of a number of organs and functions in pets and other mammals, including bone formation and nerve functions, and is part of a particular enzyme called superoxide dismutase, which is an antioxidant. Levels of this enzyme are lowered in some cases of arthritis in dogs. Care should be taken when dosing using this supplement as the amount of Manganese per fluid oz (7mg) is significantly higher than the RDA of 1.2mg per 1000kcal of food suggested by the NRC.
- Towheed T, Maxwell L, Anastassiades TP, Shea B, Houpt J, Welch V, Hochberg MC, Wells GA. Glucosamine for osteoarthritis. [meta-review]
- Moreau M, Dupuis J, Bonneau NH, Desnoyers M. Clinical evaluation of a nutraceutical, carprofen and meloxicam for the treatment of dogs with osteoarthritis. Vet Rec. 2003 Mar 15;152(11):323-9. [study]
- Aghazadeh-Habashi A, Sattari S, Pasutto F, Jamali F. Single dose pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of glucosamine in the rat. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2002 May-Aug;5(2):181-4. [study]
- Adebowale A, Du J, Liang Z, Leslie JL, Eddington ND. The bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of glucosamine hydrochloride and low molecular weight chondroitin sulfate after single and multiple doses to beagle dogs. Biopharm Drug Dispos. 2002 Sep;23(6):217-25. [study]
- K Bobacz, L Erlacher, J Smolen, A Soleiman, W Graninger. Chondrocyte number and proteoglycan synthesis in the aging and osteoarthritic human articular cartilage. Ann Rheum Dis. Dec 2004; 63(12): 1618–1622. doi: 10.1136/ard.2002.002162
- Persiani S, Roda E, Rovati LC, Locatelli M, Giacovelli G, Roda A. Glucosamine oral bioavailability and plasma pharmacokinetics after increasing doses of crystalline glucosamine sulfate in man. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Dec;13(12):1041-9. [study]
- Jackson CG, Plaas AH, Sandy JD, Hua C, Kim-Rolands S, Barnhill JG, Harris CL, Clegg DO. The human pharmacokinetics of oral ingestion of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate taken separately or in combination. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010 Mar;18(3):297-302. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2009.10.013
- Dougados M, Nguyen M, Listrat V, Amor B. High molecular weight sodium hyaluronate (hyalectin) in osteoarthritis of the knee: a 1 year placebo-controlled trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1993 Apr;1(2):97-103. [study]
- Brandt KD, Block JA, Michalski JP, Moreland LW, Caldwell JR, Lavin PT. Efficacy and safety of intraarticular sodium hyaluronate in knee osteoarthritis. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2001 Apr;(385):130-43. [study]
- What is the scientific evidence for Methyl Sulfonyl Methane? [meta-review]
Disclaimer: The purported effects of the supplements or ingredients discussed in this article may, or may not, have been subject to rigorous scientific investigation. This article is an introductory document for educational purposes only which is not intended to be a scientific review either endorsing or refuting the claimed effects of the supplements or ingredients. The information is NOT to be used for diagnosis or treatment of your pet. You should always consult your own veterinarian for specific advice concerning the treatment of your pet. The supplement has not been tested or tried by the author(s) of the content/review, and are not endorsed or recommended in any way.