Protecting your dog’s joints can help keep them moving

Maintaining healthy joints is key to keeping your dog moving comfortably through activities like taking a walk, chasing a ball, or jumping onto the couch. Cartilage is an important component of your dog's joints, and it responds to normal wear and tear as your dog moves through life.

If there is inflammation or if cartilage becomes damaged, your dog might experience pain, stiffness or limping. If this happens, you might notice your dog playing less or having difficulty moving like they used to. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these changes or signs.

A treatment option for arthritis

Once the cartilage wears away, it can’t be restored. If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, your veterinarian will recommend an approach that may include Adequan® Canine (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), the only FDA-approved product that can help slow the progression of arthritis.1,2


What is arthritis in dogs?

The progressive disease that can affect a dog’s joints is called canine osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease. You or your veterinarian may also call it arthritis, but it all refers to the same condition that affects your dog’s joints.

Arthritis is a painful condition caused by deterioration of joint cartilage and the surrounding tissue and fluid. Over time, this can lead to bone-on-bone contact, chronic inflammation, swelling and discomfort.2

The cartilage in your dog’s joints may start to wear away before you even notice the warning signs, which is why it’s important to have regular mobility check-ins with your veterinarian.

Myths about canine arthritis


It’s an old dog’s disease


Nearly 40% of dogs are diagnosed with arthritis.3 It can start within a dog's first year of life.4 While any dog can develop arthritis, some dogs are at a higher risk than others.


Dogs with arthritis shouldn’t exercise


Exercise, like daily walking, is one of the most powerful tools against arthritis in dogs. If dogs don’t move enough, signs of arthritis may get worse and joints can become more stiff. Lack of controlled exercise can also lead to increased weight, which puts more pressure on sore joints.


Arthritis doesn’t need to be treated


Because it’s a long-term disease that gets worse over time, not treating your dog’s arthritis can impact their ability to move without pain and discomfort. The good news is, it can be managed over your dog’s life, especially if it’s identified early. Your veterinarian will work with you to create a plan to support your dog’s joint health.

Stages of arthritis5

Veterinarians can classify the disease of canine osteoarthritis into five stages.
These stages can help with evaluation, but dogs may skip a stage or go through them at a different rate.


Clinically normal with or without known risk factors. Includes dogs with developmental orthopedic disease or injury that could cause arthritis later in life.


Earliest signs can include changes in behavior, body position and movement.


Signs may include less interest in going on walks or playing. Signs may be consistent or intermittent.


Signs may include limping, struggling to get up or lie down, or refusing to climb stairs.


Dog may have difficulty standing up and walking. Signs are consistent and present at all times.

Early treatment
can make a difference

When started early, Adequan Canine can help protect the cartilage in your dog’s joints and keep it from wearing away as quickly. Don’t worry if your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with a later stage of arthritis. Adequan Canine can still help provide relief from the pain and inflammation to help your dog move comfortably.


Adequan® Canine polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG)

Adequan® Canine is recommended for intramuscular injection for the control of signs associated with non-infectious degenerative and/or traumatic arthritis of canine synovial joints.

Adequan® Canine should not be used in dogs who are hypersensitive to PSGAG or who have a known or suspected bleeding disorder. It should be used with caution in dogs with renal or hepatic impairment. Adverse reactions in clinical studies (transient pain at injection site, transient diarrhea, and abnormal bleeding) were mild and self-limiting. In post approval experience, death has been reported in some cases; vomiting, anorexia, depression/lethargy and diarrhea have also been reported. The safe use of PSGAG in breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. Caution: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. For additional safety information, please see full prescribing information.

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  1. Adequan® Canine (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan), Package Insert. American Regent, Inc.
  2. Epstein M, Kirkby Shaw K. Osteoarthritis in Dogs and Cats: Novel Therapeutic Advances. 2016 NAVC Proceedings, pp. 863-865.
  3. A Wright, DM Amodie, N Cernicchiaro, BDX Lascelles, AM Pavlock, C Roberts, DJ Bartram. Identification of canine osteoarthritis using an owner-reported questionnaire and treatment monitoring using functional mobility tests. J Small Anim Pract. 2022;63,609–618.
  4. Mele E. Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis, Veterinary Focus 17,4-10 (2007).
  5. Cachon T, Frykman O, Innes JF, Lascelles BDX, Okumura M, Sousa P, Staffieri F, Steagall PV, Van Ryssen B;Mele E. Epidemiology of Osteoarthritis. Veterinary Focus 17, 4-10 (2007). Face validity of a proposed tool for staging canine osteoarthritis: Canine OsteoArthritis Staging Tool (COAST). Vet J. 2018 May;235:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2018.02.017.