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Efficacy of chondroprotectives in canine joint diseases
Chondroprotectives like chondroitinsulfate or mussel extract are often used by owners of dogs with chronic joint diseases. The reported results are extremely different. A group from the University of Munich performed a placebo-controlled double-blind study with some surprising results...

In the study, dog owners’ perceptions of the effects of either chondroitin sulfate (CS) or New Zealand green-lipped mussel extract (Perna canaliculus, ME) to a placebo (PL) in dogs with a chronic degenerative joint disease was compared in a double-blind field study.

The evaluation of the questionnaires of the attending veterinarians revealed very good correspondence between the judgment of owners and experts. Both groups reported a slight improvement of the symptoms regarding the means of all three treatment groups including the placebo group. Some symptoms even improved more in the latter than in the groups receiving the test substances.

In conclusion, the dog owners as well as the attending veterinarians, who generally agreed with the owners, perceived only a slight improvement in all three groups including the placebo group.
However, in all three groups some dog owners observed enormous improvements. Possible reasons for these observation may have been a coincidence of the onset of treatment and a spontaneous transient improvement of the lameness or by an optimistic perception of the effects.

The effects of the placebo as well as the good agreement between the scoring of the owners and the veterinarians strongly suggest that case reports and studies that are not carried out double blind may be of limited value in assessing the effectiveness of chondroprotectives.

Source: B Dobenecker, Y Beetz, E Kienzle (2002): A placebo-controlled double-blind study on the effect of nutraceuticals (Chondroitin sulfate and mussel extract) in dogs with joint diseases as perceived by their owners. In: Journal of Nutrition, 2002, Vol 132, Iss 6, Suppl. 2, pp 1690-1691






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