“Mack” is my 13 year old, Golden Retriever. I have been preparing him for his inevitable arthritic years since he was a puppy. From the time I got him at 7 weeks old until about 8 years old my arthritis-delaying plan was to keep his weight under control. His whole adult life his weight has been between 72-75 pounds. Studies have shown that keeping your dog’s weight under control throughout its life can increase longevity by an average of 1.8 years! That’s about 12 years in human years. Would you like to live an extra 12 years?

The next part of my plan started when “Mack” was about 8 years old, well before he showed any signs of arthritis. I started him on a joint supplement containing glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. This type of supplement has been shown to not only decrease pain from arthritis, but more importantly slow down degenerative changes associated with arthritis.

Because of this combination of weight control and joint supplement, the first signs I saw of arthritis in “Mack” didn’t occur until earlier this year when he was almost 13 years old! Any of you who have had larger dogs know that it isn’t unusual to see arthritic signs in dogs as young as 9-10 years old. When I noticed these initial signs of arthritis, I did put “Mack” on a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory called Deramaxx. Once we got into the warm months of summer he did well just on his joint supplement. Now that we are getting into colder weather again, he is having more trouble. About a month ago I started him on a different type of arthritis “medicine.” I wanted to discuss it so others know about this option for their dogs.

This “medicine” helps with arthritis in several different ways. First, this “medicine” helps pets to lose weight if they are heavy or makes it easier for them to maintain a good weight if they are already “fit and trim.” Next, it has a natural source of glucosamine which helps joint as I have previously described. It has high levels of antioxidant vitamins E and C. Antioxidants help the body to repair all kinds of tissue damage that occurs with age, including joints. And last, it has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help with inflammation throughout the body. Veterinarians have used them for allergic skin disease for years. Studies have shown that they also help with inflammation in joints associated with arthritis.

Owners using this “medicine” have noticed the following improvements in their pets: increased energy, increased mobility (going up and down stairs, jumping, running), and less noticeable pain in joints. There are no side effects to this “medicine” and it can be used with other joint supplements and arthritis medications if needed. Another huge advantage of this method of arthritis treatment is the cost. For a 50 pound dog it costs about $1.50 per day! What makes it even a better economic deal is that when on this “medicine” you won’t have to pay for any food for your dog! The reason is that the “medicine” is actually a prescription diet made by Purina called JM.

JM, which stands for joint mobility, is a food that has all the qualities and advantages that I have listed above. Because it replaces any other food you would be feeding your dog, it makes it very affordable to use as a way to help your dog be more comfortable during the geriatric years. I currently have “Mack” on this and he is doing very well. The food works even better on dogs with more severe arthritis if used with a joint supplement, so I also have “Mack” on one called Phycox. I expect that during the cold winter months I will need to use a stronger arthritis medicine at times, but with the JM and the Phycox in his system I should be able to use it less often and at a lower dose than I would have to otherwise.

JM is a prescription diet and will have to be purchased through your veterinarian. It is a safe, economical, and effective weapon in our fight against arthritis. And unlike other medicines that I sometimes forget about, I never forget to feed “Mack” – he would never let me.

Chad Higgins, DVM has owned Amanda Animal Hospital for the last 13 years. He sees dogs, cats, ferrets, and any other little, furry critters.