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Adequan for Cats

| Updated September 26, 2017

A senior cat who isn't quite as spry as she used to be could be experiencing joint pain. Various medications promote feline pain relief, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, as well as supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, more easily and commonly known as Adequan, is gaining favor in the veterinary community as an effective option for treating feline arthritis.

From the Cow to the Cat

The magic ingredient in Adequan is cow trachea, which serves as the basis for the drug. Adequan has been approved for animal use in horses and dogs for arthritis and lameness, and veterinarians also use it for cats. As a polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, Adequan is part of a class of drugs known as cartilage protective agents, which hinder enzymes that deteriorate the joints' cartilage. As well, Adequan increases the thickness of joint fluid and minimizes inflammation.

By Prescription Only

Talk to your veterinarian about Adequan's potential benefits to your cat. It requires a prescription. If your cat is a good candidate for its use, the vet will determine the proper dose and the injection protocol. After your cat receives her initial injections, the vet will clue you in on the symptoms to look for to develop a subsequent injection schedule that will keep her comfortable.

Using Adequan

Adequan is delivered into the muscles via injection. After the initial injections, additional shots are given as needed for the cat's comfort. Adequan's anti-inflammatory properties have prompted its use for interstitial cystitis because it appears to reduce bladder swelling. If your vet determines that your cat may benefit from Adequan, discuss the possibility of learning how to administer the injections from home, sparing you frequent trips to the vet's office.

Few Side Effects

On the PetMD website, Dr. Patty Khuly says Adequan's benefits outweigh its relatively few potential side effects and contraindications. It has blood-thinning properties, so if your cat has blood clotting issues, she should not take this drug. If surgery is on the horizon, Adequan should be discontinued because of the potential for prolonged bleeding. Some possibility for pain or swelling exists around the injection site, as well as does some possibility of joint inflammation or pain. Don't administer Adequan if your cat has a joint infection. Make sure the vet is up to speed on all the medications your cat is taking to ensure no adverse interactions occur.