How Long Has Adequan Been Used in Dogs?

Adequan may help increase mobility in dogs suffering from arthritis.
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According to WebMD, 20 percent of dogs will suffer from osteoarthritis, which causes chronic pain, reduces their mobility and may decrease their quality of life. Osteoarthritis occurs as the protective cartilage around joints begins to break down leading to inflammation and pain. Although large breed and older dogs are the most likely to suffer canine arthritis, the condition can affect any dog. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that since 1997 has been treated in part by Adequan.

What is Adequan?

Adequan is the brand name for polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, which is a compound containing chondroitin sulfate meant to slow the destruction of cartilage. Because the compound is polysulfated, meaning it contains multiple sulfur molecules, it can stop the enzymes responsible for breaking down the cartilage. Unlike most supplements or pain medications used for canine arthritis, Adequan is administered by intramuscular injection. Consequently, the compounds reach the cartilage faster and can increase the dog's comfort and mobility sooner.

History of Adequan

Adequan was developed by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, a German company that entered the United States market in 1978. The drug was first used to treat joint pain in horses in 1984. In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a canine version of the compound; injections have been available through veterinarians since that time.

Other Treatment Options

Just as osteoarthritis has many possible causes, the condition also has many treatment options. Prescription drugs such as Adequan are one option. However, other choices also can reduce cartilage degeneration. Weight reduction, for example, can help overweight and obese dogs to reduce the destruction of their joint cartilage. Exercises, such as swimming and walking, help to strengthen the dog's muscles without putting too much pressure on the joints. Stronger muscles help protect the joints, which reduces degeneration and risk of injury. Over-the-counter versions of chondroitin sulfate supplements and glucosamine also can reduce degeneration.

Health Risks

According to the label for Adequan Canine, most of the 24 dogs tested did not suffer any adverse health reactions to the injections. Temporary pain around the site of the injection, diarrhea and bleeding did occur in a small number of the treated dogs. However, those problems went away on their own. However, Adequan may be a safer option than steroids, which do reduce swelling but can cause cartilage damage, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which may reduce pain and inflammation but can lead to ulcers, kidney problems and other health conditions.