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Adequan Use in Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

If your dog's joints aren't what they used to be, your veterinarian might prescribe Adequan Canine to help get him moving again. Adequan Canine is a liquid medication injected into your dog's leg muscles. Your vet can teach you how to perform the injection. Adequan's manufacturer, Novartis Animal Health, recommends treatment consisting of eight injections over a four-week period, but your vet will recommend a specific regimen for your dog. If your dog responds to the initial eight injections, followup shots are given on an as-needed basis.

Adequan Canine

Available only by prescription, Adequan Canine consists primarily of polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, material derived from the cartilage of cattle tracheas. Its main ingredient is chondroitin sulfate, a supplement available in over-the-counter tablet and powder form. Unlike the supplement, Adequan Canine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Adequan injections appear to work especially effectively on joints with cartilage damage.

How It Works

Arthritis occurs as cartilage wears away within a joint. Eventually, enough of the protective cartilage is gone that bone hits bone when the dog moves. Adequan Canine protects your dog's joint cartilage by aiding cartilage repair and by preventing breakdown. Although it's not a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory such as the common canine arthritis medication carprofen -- marketed as Rimadyl -- Adequan appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. Adequan also appears to increase joint fluid thickness.

Other Factors

While Adequan Canine can improve your dog's mobility, it's possible he'll require more than intramuscular injections to return to his previous level of activity. If your dog is overweight, your vet can recommend a diet and exercise program -- he can do more walking if he's on Adequan -- to relieve excess joint stress. Because arthritis is degenerative, discuss the benefits of Adequan with your vet once you start noticing arthritic symptoms in your pet.

Side Effects and Contraindications

Although most dogs tolerate Adequan Canine injections well, side effects can occur. Rarely, dogs experience diarrhea. Some dogs react badly to the injection, developing lesions and experiencing pain or bleeding at the injection site. Pregnant or lactating dogs should not receive Adequan. Dogs diagnosed with liver or kidney disease, or a bleeding disorder, should not receive the drug. Tell your vet about any other medications or over-the-counter supplements your dog receives.