Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive condition that causes joint inflammation, cartilage damage, pain, and disability. Ouch! OA can be managed though. A well rounded approach to managing OA may include weight management, exercise, modifying the environment, drugs, and supplements.
What in the world is UC-II®?
UC-II® is a proprietary form of undenatured type II collagen* that works in a completely different way than traditional oral supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. As joints suffer wear and tear, small bits of type-II collagen can be released from the cartilage into the joint fluid, triggering the immune system to react, causing pain. UC-II® targets the dog’s immune system in the digestive tract in a process called oral tolerization. By exposing the digestive tract to even more collagen, UC-II® “teaches” the immune cells to ignore the loose type-II collagen, thus lessening the pain response. The process works much in the same way an allergy can be treated by exposing it to small amounts of the allergen over time, building up tolerance.
The efficacy and safety of UC-II was demonstrated in a trial in dogs with OA. In the study, lameness and pain were evaluated after the dogs were given UC-II® for 90 days. The dogs receiving UC-II® had significant declines in lameness, overall pain, and pain during manipulation. No adverse effects were noted and no changes were seen in serum chemistry measurements, suggesting that UC-II® was well tolerated.
Other Helpful Supplements for Osteoarthritis
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3 fatty acids are a collection of polyunsaturated fatty acids. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are vital to healthy joints. They are not produced naturally in the body and food or supplements are good sources to add them. Omega 3 fatty acids aid in joint health by lessoning the inflammation that often accompanies OA. Many over the counter pet foods add omega 3 fatty acids to the food. However, due to regulatory restrictions, they are not allowed to add the therapeutic levels of omega 3’s recommended for osteoarthritis management.
- Glucosamine/ Chondroitin – Glucosamine and chondroitin are substances that occur naturally in connective tissue and provide building block material for the components of healthy cartilage and its structural integrity. They are in many joint health supplements.
- Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) – Methyl-sulfonyl-methane is a source of sulfur required for the formation of collagen. Sulfur is found in almost every cell in the body, and higher concentrations are found in joints, hair, skin and nails. MSM is an antioxidant and enhances the structural integrity of connective tissue including cartilage.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are reactive substances created by metabolic processes.
Leverage your veterinarian as a source of information
Your veterinarian is the best person to discuss any questions you have about managing your pet with OA. Several years ago a study was done to evaluate the quality of information regarding OA in dogs that was available online. At that time they determined the quality of information available on the web was questionable. Although many of the sites had some conventional information that was reasonably accurate, the information was often incomplete, of minimal use, and often considered counterproductive. Your veterinarian and health care team will be able to provide guidance on the best options for your pet.
Helping your Pet with Osteoarthritis Live Relatively Pain Free
Osteoarthritis can be managed with a multi-modal approach. Work with your veterinarian to find the best supplement for your pet. Those recommendations may change as the disease progresses or your pet’s health changes. In addition to supplementation, weight reduction, controlled exercise and modifying the environment are beneficial. These methods along with drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories will help break the negative cycle and allow your pet to live a long, happy and relatively pain free life!
*UC-II® is a trademark of InterHealth N.I.