Ask A Vet: Which Joint Supplements Are Best For My Cat?



So, your cat has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or you just feel like you are noticing some signs that may indicate it. You have seen the news and read on Google about “safe and effective” joint supplements that you can give to him. You can buy them anywhere and they range in price.  How do you know which to choose?
There are some things you should consider before you buy anything.

1. The FDA classifies supplements as “food products” so they do not require proof of efficacy from the manufacturers. Read any claim on the label with a critical eye and know that these claims may not be as “black and white” as they seem.
2. If a product is a human product, be aware that NO testing on animal patients is required at all.
3. Neutra-ceuticals (the industry call tag for these products) that are labeled for animal use may not have been tested for the suggested species and if they are said to be effective, there may be no proof.

This industry is quite lucrative and one can spend a significant amount on these products. When you choose, do not select the cheapest or the one with the flashiest label.  You could be buying something that does not even have an active ingredient. You might be buying something that will harm your cat. There are good products with a proven track record for the species you want to treat. There are charlatans who just want your money and there are all shades of grey in between.

Ask your vet because he/she may have experience with these manufacturers and is more likely to be able to spot an “iffy” product.  If you purchase this type of product from your vet and your cat will not eat it, it is more likely to be guaranteed and you can get your money back if she won’t or you do not feel it is a good value. Buying this type of product online is more of a gamble, depending on the source.

Being a healthcare team with your veterinarian is SO critical. You do not have to make decisions on your own. These supplements are a potentially beneficial investment, but could be a source of throwing money away. Ask your vet and include the professional team in your decision. Your cat will be glad and so will your wallet.

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm

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