Glucosamine for Cats

Glucosamine for cats can help to relieve and reverse the symptoms of arthritis and can also relieve the pain of hip dysplasia. Glucosamine is safe for cats and has few side effects.

Glucosamine Use Explained

Glucosamine is a nutritional supplement that has been found to be useful for skin wounds, stomach problems and joint problems. Its principle use is for the treatment of osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. Glucosamine has also been of benefit in the treatment of spinal disc injuries and to help patients recover from spinal and joint surgery.

How Glucosamine Works

Glucosamine is a substance that's found in many foods and that your cat's body produces naturally. Glucosamine and chondroitin are important parts of cartilage. When your cat's body produces adequate amounts of these substances, then the cartilage in his joints regenerates itself efficiently. They also help block the enzymes that contribute to wear on cartilage.

As your cat ages, his body produces glucosamine and chondroitin less efficiently, and cartilage degeneration begins to occur more rapidly than cartilage regeneration. When the cartilage in your cat's joints wears down so far that the bare bones are rubbing together, osteoarthritis occurs. Symptoms of osteoarthritis in cats include:

  • Pain and inflammation of the joints
  • Stiffness
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty sitting, standing, squatting or lying down
  • Unwillingness to play, jump or climb

Treating Joint Problems in Cats with Glucosamine

Glucosamine supplements have few side effects; rarely, abdominal gas, loose stools and vomiting may occur, but you can alleviate these symptoms by administering the supplements at mealtimes. Cats can take the same kind of glucosamine supplements that humans take, but glucosamine products marketed specifically for animals are sold in appropriate dosages and may contain additional vitamins to help the cat absorb the glucosamine.

If you decide to supplement your cat's diet with glucosamine, give him about 125 mg twice a day, each day (but be sure to check with your vet first to ensure the dosage works for your individual pet). Benefits may not become obvious for three to four months, because it takes some time for the glucosamine to build up in your cat's system and have a noticeable effect on joint health.

If your cat suffers from osteoarthritis, glucosamine supplementation can reduce or even reverse the symptoms. Many cats regain full movement in their joints and go on to live pain free lives. If your cat isn't yet suffering from osteoarthritis, you may want to consider administering glucosamine as a preventative medication. Regular use of glucosamine can stave off arthritis symptoms altogether.

If your cat suffers from hip dysplasia, glucosamine can't reverse his condition. Hip dysplasia is a genetic illness that causes deformity of the hip, preventing the joint from moving and functioning as it should. Many cats with hip dysplasia experience only mild symptoms, and glucosamine supplements can help combat the accelerated cartilage degeneration that can occur as a result of joint deformity.

Cats who take glucosamine supplements for the treatment of arthritis and hip dysplasia must continue taking them for the rest of their lives. Cats who use the supplement to help recover from spinal or joint injury can stop taking it after about three months.