Supplements for Arthritis & Joint Disease

Many pets as they grow older may develop arthritis or joint disease.  The Horizon Veterinary Hospitals offer a variety of nutraceutical supplements for dogs & cats that may help arthritis and joint disease.  Some options include glucosamine/chondroitin, MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane), Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) and green lipped mussel powder. If your pet is having difficulty rising or climbing stairs, limping, stiffness etc, these supplements may help with your pet’s quality of life.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two very similar products that are mostly found together in supplements. Glucosamine is used in the production of cartilage and is found in the fluid that lubricates the joint. Chondroitin is also used in cartilage production and helps the cartilage to absorb fluid. It also inhibits the destructive enzymes that can be found in the joint.

MSM is used by the body to develop collagen which in turn is transformed into cartilage, among other things. There needs to be more studies, but it seems to also act as an analgesic (pain reliever) by decreasing the pain nerve impulses. MSM helps to maintain the structure of connective tissues in the joint.  It can be found in glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.

Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in skin and coat health such as allergies, the control of inflammation, joint health, and organ function. Arthritis is made worse from inflammation that is in the joint, so Omega 3 fatty acids will help prevent further damage and decrease the ongoing pain. It has been shown that Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce joint stiffness which will make your pet more comfortable.

Green lipped mussel powder has Omega 3 fatty acids and chondroitin, making it a well-rounded supplement option.  Although green-lipped mussel is known to contain anti-inflammatory components and other nutrients that may benefit joint health, the precise mechanisms of its actions are unknown.

There are a couple of veterinary exclusive foods available that have joint supplements added to them in therapeutic doses. Hills Prescription Diet j/d is formulated with Omega 3 fatty acids and Royal Canin’s Mobility diet has green lipped mussel.

When it comes to choosing the correct supplement for your furry friend, visit your Horizon Veterinary Hospital and ask a team member for some sound advice. Your veterinarian will want to review all treatments that will help your pet and may suggest weight management, specific exercise, physical therapy, change in diet, and changes to home environment such as a warm area to sleep and ramps for getting in and out of the vehicle. 

We recommended choosing a supplement that is formulated for cats and dogs, as the human forms have not been tested or proven to help our four legged companions.

For more reliable information on joint health or nutraceuticals, go to our Horizon Veterinary Group website at, click on Pet Health and search for “joint health” or “nutraceuticals”.


 Article by:  Lisa Young, RVT