Dogs experience joint pain much like people do. Stiffness, aches, and varying degrees of discomfort limit their mobility and decrease their quality of life, making it hard for them to enjoy physical activities like walking or climbing stairs. Joint pain can affect all breeds of dogs, but large and giant breeds are particularly prone to developing joint diseases.
There are several treatment options for dogs with joint disease, including surgery, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and joint supplements. One of these supplements is a compound called Dasuquin. Here is what you need to know about Dasuquin for dogs to help you make an informed decision about your dog's care.
What Is Dasuquin?
Dasuquin is the number one joint supplement brand recommended by veterinarians, according to the manufacturer, Nutramax Laboratories Veterinary Sciences, Inc. The company claims that its formula stimulates cartilage matrix production, protects cartilage, supports joint function, and is the most complete supplement for joint support on the market.
Dasuquin is composed of three main ingredients:
- Glucosamine hydrochloride
- Sodium chondroitin sulfate
- ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables)
Choosing the Right Dasuquin Supplement
Dasuquin is available in two different strengths. Nutramax carries a Dasuquin for small-to-medium dogs and a Dasuquin for large dogs. Some can contain methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). All varieties come in both soft chews and chewable tablets. Ask your veterinarian what formula to try for your dog.
Dasuquin for Common Joint Diseases in Dogs
Dogs develop joint diseases just like humans do. Some joint diseases are hereditary or congenital. Others may develop after an injury, or may result from lifestyle or environmental factors. Common hereditary and congenital joint diseases include hip dysplasia and osteochondrosis, both of which particularly affect large and giant breed dogs.
There are five common joint diseases in dogs that Dasuquin may help treat:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development of the hip joint. While it is most common in large or giant breed dogs, it can occur in any breed of dog. Excessive growth, hereditary factors, nutrition, and exercise contribute to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia leads to degenerative joint changes, which cause lameness and limited mobility.
Osteochondrosis is a developmental disorder that occurs in large and medium breed dogs with rapid growth habits. While the exact cause is unknown, veterinarians suspect that rapid growth, excessive nutrition, trauma, and genetics contribute to the development of this disease. Osteochondrosis causes abnormal cartilage growth and breakdown, leading to arthritis, lameness, and limited range of motion.
Elbow dysplasia commonly occurs in rapidly growing large breed dogs. The elbow joint is generally incongruent. Elbow dysplasia is caused by abnormal bone growth, joint stress, or cartilage development.
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, is the progressive deterioration of the joints. This degeneration can be caused by infection, trauma, immune-mediated diseases, or developmental abnormalities.
There are several different kinds of arthritis in dogs, aside form osteoarthritis. Septic arthritis is an infectious arthritis associated with bacteria, trauma, and surgery. Immune-mediated arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that is a secondary response to an immune complex. Neoplastic arthritis is the result of cancer of the joints, and polyarthritis involves multiple joints and can be either infectious or noninfectious.
Treating Joint Pain in Dogs
Traditional treatment for joint-related pain in dogs relies on NSAIDs. While effective, NSAID medications like aspirin and carprofen do have adverse side effects and caution is advised for long-term use.
Supplements like Dasuquin can also help relieve joint-related pain without the adverse side effects of NSAIDs, or they can be used in conjunction with NSAIDs as part of a comprehensive treatment regimen. Veterinarians recommend Dasuquin and other joint supplements for use in patients with osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, osteochondrosis, elbow dysplasia, arthritis, and dogs with joint-related pain from injuries like elbow luxation.
Research suggests that Dasuquin may be as effective as NSAIDS in the management of chronic osteoarthritis. This is good news for dogs with joint issues, as Dasuquin has far fewer side effects than NSAIDS and is therefore safe to give over long periods of time.
In addition to giving your dog supplements such as Dasuquin, keeping your dog at a healthy weight, feeding a high-quality diet, and crafting a plan for your dog's care with your veterinarian can help you manage your dog's joint disease.
Preventative healthcare is important for all dogs, but especially for dogs that are predisposed to joint disease like large and giant dog breeds. According to Dr. Darryl L. Millis in an interview with dvm360.com, “The key to maintaining good joint health is early diagnosis and recognition of a problem before it becomes a bone-on-bone and a pain management issue.” This means taking your dog into the vet for regular checkups, starting with puppyhood.
In the same dvm360.com interview, Dr. Paul Fox comments that “[doctors] need to be aware of the animals that are at risk for having joint problems, as puppies or later in life, especially large breed dogs and overweight dogs.” Obesity puts pressure on your dog’s joints. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for his health, according to Clinician's Brief.
Senior dogs may benefit from a joint supplement like Dasuquin, just like senior humans can benefit from glucosamine joint supplements. As dogs age, the protective layer of cartilage between their bones begins to thin and wear away, bringing the bones into contact with each other and causing arthritis.
Active dogs, like canine athletes and sporting dogs, are also at a higher risk for joint disease, as physical activity and sport-related injury increases the risk of joint disease. Starting active dogs on Dasuquin can help cushion joints and prevent joint disease, keeping these dogs active for longer.
According to the manufacturer, there are no known safety concerns or adverse side effects associated with Dasuquin, and no known contraindications or interactions between Dasuquin and other medications or supplements. While Dasuquin is generally considered very safe, contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog’s behavior changes or he starts to develop symptoms of GI upset or an allergic reaction after taking Dasuquin.
Where to Buy Dasuquin for Dogs
Dasuquin is available through your veterinarian, and it is important to consult with your vet about the proper Dasuquin dosage for your dog. Remember that Dasuquin is not a replacement for veterinary care. Dogs with joint disease often need additional medical therapies to help them stay comfortable and active -- and only a licensed veterinary professional can provide this.
How Does Dasuquin Compare to Other Joint Supplements?
Every dog is different, and your dog's needs are unique. The best way to determine which joint supplement is right for your dog is to consult your veterinarian. Your vet has access to the latest information about drug trials, recalls, studies, and research, which means she can give you the most up-to-date information about the best drugs on the market to help with your dog’s joint pain. Talk to your vet to find out if Dasuquin is the right supplement for your dog, and about any other measures you can take to improve your dog's joint health.