History

Dog Joint Health

Key Message

WALTHAM has contributed to the understanding of joint health in dogs by:

  • Developing the only green-lipped mussel supplemented dog food clinically proven to maintain joint health.

Background

As in humans, older dogs often experience arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a complex progressive disease characterised by the degeneration of articular cartilage, the formation of new bone (osteophytes) at joint margins, and variable amounts of synovial inflammation (Bierer and Bui 2002). It is reported to be a common problem in dogs (Vaughan 1990), although exact incidence rates are hard to ascertain.  The eventual outcome is often euthanasia due to the chronic pain, loss of mobility and reduced quality of life.

Diet can potentially modify some of the underlying disease processes, including modulation of the in?ammatory response, provision of nutrients that may aid cartilage repair, and protection against oxidative damage.

New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) has shown efficacy for alleviating osteoarthritis in humans (Brien et al. 2008). It contains various anti-inflammatory components that are still being characterised but which probably work together. These include a high content of omega 3 fatty acids (Murphy et al. 2003; Treschow et al. 2007), as well as chondroitin, glutamine and methionine, and antioxidant micronutrients such as vitamins E and C, and zinc (see Bierer and Bui 2002).

Why WALTHAM is Interested

Canine osteoarthritis is a debilitating and painful disease that affects quality and length of life.

Approach

The ability of a green-lipped mussel dietary supplement to alleviate signs of arthritis in dogs was investigated.

DISCOVERY (Diet)

Dietary green-lipped mussel helps to alleviate signs of arthritis in dogs

WALTHAM research into the effects of green-lipped mussel involved a series of double-blind randomised controlled studies of dogs (aged 413 years) that had been exhibiting varying degrees of naturally-occurring arthritis for at least 4 months (Bui et al. 2000; Bierer and Bui 2002). All the dogs were fed the same dry commercially-available diet formulated for senior dogs and each study lasted for 6 weeks.

Arthritic signs were evaluated by an independent veterinarian who was blinded to the treatment groups at baseline and at 6 weeks. All parameters were scored on a scale of 0 to 4 (0 = no signs; 1 = mild; 2 = moderate; 3 = marked; 4 = severe). Each dog was scored for mobility (average of individual scores for lameness in walking, trotting, and climbing stairs), and the individual joints (carpus, elbow and shoulder or tarsus, sti?e and hip) of each limb were individually scored for degree of pain, swelling, crepitus and reduction in range of movement. Summation of the mobility score and all individual joint scores for each dog comprised their total arthritic score.

  • In study 1, green-lipped mussel powder was added on top of the diet of 17 dogs, while 15 dogs received the diet alone.
  • In study 2, green-lipped mussel powder was incorporated into a treat, which was given to 17 dogs and compared with 16 controls dogs on standard diet.
  • In study 3, green-lipped mussel powder was incorporated into the diet during processing, and was given to 14 dogs while 17 dogs received the standard diet.
For all studies, the dosage rate for green-lipped mussel was: 1000 mg/day green-lipped mussel powder for dogs >34 kg body weight; 750 mg/day for dogs 2534 kg; and 450 mg/day for dogs <25 kg (Bierer and Bui 2002).

The results are shown below for Study 1 (Figure 1), Study 2 (Figure 2) and Study 3 (Figure 3). In the green-lipped mussel supplemented group total arthritic score, joint pain, and joint swelling at the end of week 6 showed signi?cant improvement in all three studies compared to the respective control group (Bierer and Bui 2002). In studies 1 and 2, crepitus scores were also signi?cantly improved in the green-lipped mussel group compared to those of the respective control groups (Bierer and Bui 2002). In these relatively short-term studies, no signi?cant effects were observed with regard to mobility or range of joint movement (Bierer and Bui 2002).

Dog Joints study 1
Reproduced from Bierer TL, Bui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) J Nutr. 2002Jun;132(6 supplement 2):1634S-1636S

Figure 1: Study 1: mean SEM change in total arthritic score, joint pain, joint swelling, and crepitus from baseline to week 6 in dogs fed a diet supplemented with green-lipped mussel (GLM) powder (n=17) compared with diet alone (control, n=15) (Bierer and Bui 2002). The change in score was significantly different between the control and green lipped mussel groups for all variables (P<0.05)

Dog Joints study 2
Reproduced from Bierer TL, Bui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) J Nutr. 2002Jun;132(6 supplement 2):1634S-1636S

Figure 2: Study 2: mean SEM change in total arthritic score from baseline to week 6 in dogs fed a green-lipped mussel (GLM) treat (n=17) compared with control (n=16) (Bierer and Bui 2002). The change in score was significantly different between the control and green lipped mussel groups (P<0.05)

Dog Joints study 3
Reproduced from Bierer TL, Bui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) J Nutr. 2002Jun;132(6 supplement 2):1634S-1636S

Figure 3: Study 3: mean SEM change in total arthritic score from baseline to week 6 in dogs fed a diet processed to include green-lipped mussel (GLM, n=14) compared with control (n=17) (Bierer and Bui 2002). The change in score was significantly different between the control and green lipped mussel groups (P<0.05)

These data show that green-lipped mussel can help alleviate the signs of arthritis in dogs.

References

Bierer TL, Bui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus). J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6 Suppl 2):1634S-6S.


Bui LM, Pawlowski K, Bierer TL. The influence of green-lipped mussel powder (Perna Caniculus) on alleviating arthritic signs in dogs. FASEB J. 2000;14(4):A218 [Abstract 160.9].


Brien S, Prescott P, Coghlan B, Bashir N, Lewith G. Systematic review of the nutritional supplement Perna Canaliculus (green-lipped mussel) in the treatment of osteoarthritis. QJM. 2008 Mar;101(3):167-79.


Murphy KJ, Mann NJ, Sinclair AJ. Fatty acid and sterol composition of frozen and freeze-dried New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus) from three sites in New Zealand. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12(1):50-60.


Treschow AP, Hodges LD, Wright PF, Wynne PM, Kalafatis N, Macrides TA. Novel anti-inflammatory omega-3 PUFAs from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, Perna canaliculus. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Aug;147(4):645-56.


Vaughan LC. Orthopaedic problems in old dogs. Vet Rec. 1990 Apr 21;126(16):379-88.

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