The 2001 meeting of the North American Veterinary Conference, which met in Orlando in January, brought together over 7,000 veterinarians from around the world, including Dr. Joe Bodewes from Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. There were a wide variety of topics covered by the speakers and Dr. Bodewes shares a few of the more interesting discoveries below.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
Studies have shown that both glucosamine and chondroitin will work to help restrict the damage and promote healing in joint cartilage in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. While there have been several products that have combined the two products, the benefit from combining the two has been speculative. However, new studies show that there is a benefit from combining the two, and the maximum benefit can be obtained when both products are fed in combination. While chondroitin has long been suspected to be beneficial in promoting cartilage healing, the high cost of adding it has often been questioned. These new results show that the benefits will outweigh the cost, and the most effective products in the future will most likely contain a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Fatty acids for arthritis
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been used to help prevent shedding, itchy skin, and dandruff in dogs and cats. There have been several studies in humans looking into the possible benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in controlling inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. These studies have shown that there is a definite benefit to the arthritic patients who take Omega-3 fatty acids. These same anti-inflammatory properties that are being seen in humans are now being investigated in dogs. As a result of these findings, many veterinary orthopedic surgeons are recommending the use of Omega-3 fatty acids to their canine patients suffering from osteoarthritis. As these studies continue, we will most likely see Omega-3 fatty acids become a more frequent treatment for arthritis in dogs.
Antihistamines for cats with allergies
Dogs that suffer from allergies have long been a big problem in the United States. While much has been written about their treatment, allergic cats have often been neglected. While there are not as many allergic cats as dogs, veterinarians are well aware that there are still many cats that suffer from inhalant allergies. Oral antihistamines have been a mainstay along with fatty acids and biotin to help control allergies in both cats and dogs. Unfortunately, there are very few veterinary antihistamines available for animals and in the past, veterinarians have had to resort to using human antihistamines in animals. The human antihistamines most commonly used in dogs have been diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and hydroxyzine (Atarax). Cats have often not responded as well to these antihistamines and appear to respond better to the antihistamine chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton). With the introduction of new antihistamines in the human market, veterinary dermatologists have found an additional antihistamine that appears to be working well in cats. This new antihistamine is 'fexofenadine' (Allegra) and is being used effectively in many allergic cats. If you have a cat suffering from inhalant allergies, ask your veterinarian about the use of this drug.