Glycosaminoglycan (GAG) Supplements (Glucosamine, Chondroitin)
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith


Glycosaminoglycan supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are used in the management of degenerative arthritis. Use only if a diagnosis indicating possible benefits from glycosaminoglycans has been made. May take a month or more to see beneficial results. They will NOT prevent degenerative arthritis. Side effects are rare.

Generic Name
Glycosaminoglycan supplements

Brand Names
Glucosamine: Drs. Foster and Smith Gluco-C, Acetylator, Cartiflex, Glyco-Flex, SynoviCre
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Drs. Foster and Smith Joint Care, Cosequin, Vetri-Disc

Type of Drug
Chondroprotective nutraceutical to aid in the management of arthritis.

See also Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan for information on other chondroprotective agents.

Form and Storage
Capsules and powder
Store at room temperature.

Indications for Use
Aid in the management of non-infectious degenerative arthritic conditions and injuries involving cartilage damage.

General Information
Not FDA approved as these products are nutraceuticals, a dietary supplement with medicinal properties, and do not need to be approved before use. Available by prescription and over the counter. Caring for pets with osteoarthritis (arthritis, hip dysplasia) requires several areas of treatment including weight control, exercise, physical therapy, supplements for cartilage health, and if needed, medications for control of pain and inflammation. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid. It is thought that glucosamine also stimulate the secretion of glycosaminoglycans in the cartilage and chondroitin also inhibits the enzymes that destroy cartilage. GAGs are obtained from shark or beef cartilage or chitin from crustacean shells. Glycosaminoglycans help relieve symptoms of arthritis in a high percentage of patients. Hopefully, with the use of the GAGs, pain medications can be minimized.

Usual Dose and Administration
Dogs and Cats: Typical doses start at approximately 500 mg glucosamine and 400 mg chondroitin per 25 pounds divided every 12 hours. Results should be seen within 4-6 weeks at which point cutting back by 1 capsule every 4-6 weeks could be tried to find the least amount necessary to reduce symptoms. Arthritic conditions would usually need to be treated for life.

Side Effects
Rare. May see diarrhea with overdosage.

Use only if a diagnosis indicating possible benefits from glycosaminoglycans has been made.

Do not use in place of other treatments if an infection is present or surgery is needed.

No well-controlled studies for use in pregnancy or lactation.

Drug or Food Interactions
None known.

Unlikely. May see diarrhea.

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Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.

If you think your pet has been poisoned...

Contact your veterinarian or one of the Animal Poison Hotlines (listed below) if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication.

**ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). $65.00 per case, billed to caller's credit card.

Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973.

There is no charge when the call involves a product covered by the Animal Product Safety Service.

**Pet Poison Helpline - 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

1-800-213-6680 ($35.00 per incident). Staffed 24-hours a day.

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