Preventing joint disease in your dog
By Franco Cavaleri BSc NB Nutritional Biochemist
Original post: December 10, 2010
Much like your own state of physical and mental health is a function of many influences, your pet’s health hinges on multiple factors.
Diet, nutrient status, activity level, breeding or genetics and emotional state all play significant roles in health. When we say, “health is a choice”, it really is. Every choice we make dictates the wellness of our companion pet from the time we decide on a breed or species that suits our lifestyle to the food and live nutritional supplements we feed daily. Your daily choices will play a significant role in your companion animal’s state of health.
Of course some cases of disease are purely genetic but even most of those can be mitigated with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle – preventive measures. A large dog like a Great Dane, for example, will be more vulnerable to hip and joint degeneration than a Chihuahua might be. In addition, within the breed, the lineage might also have vulnerability which shows up in the animal’s parents and litter mates. In such cases, ensuring that the animal’s diet supplies sufficient glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and copper, can reduce the risk for premature development of the condition. The addition of phytoantioxidants to the diet will also help protect tissues and preserve healthy anti-inflammatory regulation throughout the animal’s life.
Nutrition, a factor we dictate, will play a huge role in disease prevention and management. Research is showing that antioxidants play important roles in genetic activity preserving genetic function. Oxidation can cause these genes to become ineffective. A perfect example is the chondrocyte, the cell responsible for producing collagen in the cartilage tissue of the joint. Oxidation can contribute to this cell’s inefficiency impairing its ability to use glucosamine building blocks. As a result the cell’s natural ability to restore collagen and cartilage as it degenerates from daily wear and tear declines. Supplemental glucosamine will not be used effectively by the chondrocyte which is impaired by oxidation. Some animals may simply be more vulnerable to this oxidation than others and this might be the source of the predisposition to arthritis or other joint insufficiencies.
Oxidation and antioxidants play paramount roles in genetic activity and disease status. We all have built in genetic potential for disease just like our pets do. We all also have codes which are designed to maintain health and vigor. The way these genes are expressed or biologically interpreted depends on the chemistry they are bathed in. Sound complicated? It isn’t really. The foods we eat, the antioxidants we supplement with, the lifestyles we engage in, the toxins we allow into our life and the stress we are influenced by all manipulate this chemistry in the body; in each of the cells.
Today we are exposed to more environmental pollution and oxidation than ever before. In order to allow our cells and those of our companion animals to function according to natural design we have to meet this incremental oxidation with a higher antioxidant level. Fortunately our cells and those of our companion’s have the capacity to manufacture endogenous antioxidants but these internally produced antioxidants are not enough to meet the unnaturally elevated environmental assault. In addition, as we and our companion animals age, this internal antioxidant production declines and so oral supplementation becomes even more valuable.
A formulation which includes the right type, quantity and proportion of the extracts of boswellia serrata and grapeseed, vitamin C, low molecular weight chondroitin, glucosamine, and MSM can help maintain the chondrocyte in the ON position. The right combination protects these cells from the detrimental effects of uncontrolled oxidation while supplying them with the building blocks for collagen so it can repair and restore joint health. Waiting for the symptoms of disease to surface is not the right thing to do.
Applying these joint-specific strategies proactively ensures that these specialized repair cells are maintaining cartilage on a daily basis so not to fall behind in the process. Prevention is the best cure