U de M researchers find arthritis treatment for dogs -- and maybe humans, too
Published Sunday, November 30, 2014 4:08PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 30, 2014 6:46PM EST
Arthritis is a debilitating illness not only for humans, but for many animals as well.
While drugs to help them cope exist, researchers from Universite de Montreal have come up with new a plant-based medicine to fight this ailment – and it’s one that may have benefits for humans as well.
Arthritis is incredibly common in older dogs, explained animal pharmacologist Dr. Eric Troncy.
“It's a high prevalence in dogs and we know from epidemiological studies that 80 percent of geriatric dogs are facing osteoarthritis. So it's a big number,” he said.
The treatments that exist can have side effects, so a team from Universite de Montreal's school of veterinary medicine looked for a natural way to relieve the pain of arthritis.
After three years, they came up with a winning formula of anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
Half of the 32 large dogs in the study were given the treatment.
“The dogs became more active, so it's an indirect demo that the dog was more comfortable and more willing to move,” said Troncy. “Walking with the owner is longer.”
They put that theory to the test using a microchip collar to monitor the dog's activity.
A special platform in their lab measured the amount of strength in each step. After eight weeks, they were able to put more weight on their joints.
Thenew medication isn't just good news for dogs but could help their owners too. Researchers say this natural remedy could work in humans.
“We know too, with previous experience we had using the dog, when a product is efficacious with the dogs it has great chance to be efficacious with other species, particularly with humans,” said Troncy.
Those trials have yet to begin, and it could take some time before this herbal remedy for dogs hits the market.
Until then, vets suggest one way to help arthritic dogs is to keep their weight down and keep moving - even if it takes a little longer than it used to.