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Disease Modifying Osteoarthritis Drug: Adequan Dosing Protocol

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    May 16, 2023 4:36 PM EDT

    Osteoarthritis or “OA” is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs and, while veterinarians and observant pet owners are pretty keen in identifying the more obvious signs of advanced or late stage OA, we know that it can start quite early in a dog’s life - as puppies during their growth and development. Certain breeds are more prone to developmental problems than others. Affected puppies may not show obvious signs of OA early on, but these early changes in joints will progress into long-lasting disease and, over time, lead to problems with mobility, chronic pain, and an overall diminished quality of life.

    When we diagnose any animal with OA our treatment goals are to reduce any pain and inflammation and to address any of the anatomic or other physiologic problems in play. Most of the therapies we provide for affected dogs are considered to “reactive” in nature, meaning we are providing symptom-modifying (e.g. pain) therapy to get the animal feeling more comfortable.

    Disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs) are a type of therapy that can be considered “proactive” in nature, meaning that we are using them to actually alter the course of disease. In the case of dogs with OA, if we diagnose the pet early in the course of their disease - perhaps even before they are showing signs and symptoms of their joint problem(s) - we stand to alter the progression of the problem. Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is one FDA-approved DMOAD that is widely available through licensed veterinarians; It's been clinically proven to slow progression of OA, help to repair damage in joints, and promote improved joint health and mobility in dogs with OA. To be most effective, this drug should be used early in the course of disease (not in advanced cases), as it’s best application is for slowing progression or stabilizing the condition.

    There is a recommended protocol for the use of Adequan in dogs. In the recent VetVine Arthritis Summit several veterinary experts talked about their use of Adequan in patients with osteoarthritis. A question was submitted by an audience member regarding the treatment protocol and what should be done for a pet that may have missed a dose or treatment cycle. Dr. James Gaynor - a veterinary anesthesia and pain management expert - shared this suggestion and discussed how he incorporates Adequan in the care of his patients: