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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 4.5, going on 5 month old puppy Lab mix, at around 35 lbs by now. Is there a benefit to getting her started on Glucosamine supplements to avert/mitigate future joint issues? If so, what products would you recommend?
 

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No proven benefit. http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2014/03/legs-glucosamine-study-sows-little-evidence-of-real-benefit/
Also note that, contrary to common belief, Labs are not especially prone to joint problems. In the data from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, they come in in the middle of the pack for HD and OD. Many many breeds are worse. See, egl, http://www.ofa.org/stats_hip.html

The best way to prevent hip/elbow problems in Labs is to buy your pup from a breeder who has systematically bred away from joint problems. I have a 12 yr old Lab who still runs 5k five times a week with no problems. She tested great for hip and elbows when she was young. Her sire had a great pedigree and a reputation for throwing sound pups.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
No proven benefit. http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2014/03/legs-glucosamine-study-sows-little-evidence-of-real-benefit/
Also note that, contrary to common belief, Labs are not especially prone to joint problems. In the data from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, they come in in the middle of the pack for HD and OD. Many many breeds are worse. See, egl, http://www.ofa.org/stats_hip.html

The best way to prevent hip/elbow problems in Labs is to buy your pup from a breeder who has systematically bred away from joint problems. I have a 12 yr old Lab who still runs 5k five times a week with no problems. She tested great for hip and elbows when she was young. Her sire had a great pedigree and a reputation for throwing sound pups.
Well... as I stated in my OP, this is a mix, so no breeder involved. Also a rescue/adopt, and one that didn't get fed well, IMO (adult food, not enough), so I'm trying to see what I can do to catch her up. I also wonder how many of those hip/joint problems arise from poor diet and obesity (too much weight on the bones). I think a lot of joint problems in canines and dogs alike could be averted through fitness (muscle structure that supports joints) and proper weight (to put less stress on joints).

As for the benefits of glucosamine, my personal experience (though, yes, anecdotal) is enough for me to form my own opinion away from statistical analysis. I couldn't run if not for glucosamine. And when I go off it (which I do occasionally), the aches and pains and stiffness return.
 

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Yay. Well, anecdotally, I'm 67 and run 4-5 times a week without any help from glucosamine.
My point is that HD is fairly strongly hereditary. You can't run your life back to childhood and start supplementing glucosamine. But if you could, it's dubious whether that would have prevented what seems to be a latent problem for you.
My other point is people equate Lab with arthritis. This is BS. Sure, vets see many arthritic Labs. It's the most common breed in AKC registration and pretty common in BYB pups as well, so vets see lots of elderly Labs with hip problems. See, eg.
http://www.ofa.org/stats_hip.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Yay. Well, anecdotally, I'm 67 and run 4-5 times a week without any help from glucosamine.
That's great. It also begs the question (circular reasoning): you don't benefit from it because you don't need it (and, if I'm hearing you right, because you don't take it). Beyond that, the differences in yours and my experience could have a number of explanations, none having to do with the efficacy of glucosamine. I'm a clidesdale runner with awful bone structure, and you may have a body more suitable for running. Or you may run with great shoes, and me... I'm too cheap to buy some. Or I drive a desk for a living, while you're more active during the day, leading to better fitness and posture in your runs. There are many variables at play, and most of the studies I see out there making this or that other claim suffer from not controlling for them.

As for your comments about Labs and arthritis, I find them heartening, so thank you for offering them.
 

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I tried glucosamine a decade or so ago when I started feeling some pains. It did nothing for me. I have weird feet and they can cause pain to radiate up through the leg to the back. I find that regular exercise helps a lot . . . hence I run now. Yes, these sorts of things are complicated and I don't think medicine (conventional or alternative) has a good handle on them. That, plus the placebo effect, are why anecdotal evidence is often misleading. For me, weight control and keeping musculature strong and flexible help more than medication. I suspect this is true for many people (and dogs).

On the plus side for glucosamine, I haven't seen any evidence that it's harmful, and it's not that expensive. But I doubt you will find any evidence that feeding it to a pup will ward off later life problems . . . whether they come from dietary deficiencies or hereditary factors. Sometimes the feel good factor is worth paying for on the odd chance that it may help. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/glucosamine-chondroitin-osteoarthritis.php

If your parents had given you glucosamine in your early years, do you really think it would have made any difference to your bone structure? Look at the OFA stats again. Notice that the dog breeds with awful stats tend to be either heavy boned or odd structured (bulldogs, pugs, corgis and the like).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If your parents had given you glucosamine in your early years, do you really think it would have made any difference to your bone structure?
That's an excellent question, and no, I don't think it would have helped much. Interesting how some breeders start their pups on supplements, though. Might be all mythology, I suppose.

Look at the OFA stats again. Notice that the dog breeds with awful stats tend to be either heavy boned or odd structured (bulldogs, pugs, corgis and the like).
Yup, hard to make up for that deficit.
 

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IIRC glucosamine can be hard on the pancreas. I wouldn't use it unless I had a dog that was actually displaying signs of osteoarthritis. Even then I'm dubious that oral glucosamine has a significant effect.

I'm not huge on most unregulated supplements being used medicinally. My view is that if they don't do anything it's a waste of money, and if they do something, they're drugs and need testing to determine clearly what their potential benefits and dangers are.
 

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All of my dogs get glucosamine. And chondroitin, Vitamin E, and fish oil. I am fully aware that there are no studies proving that it 100% will help your dog. But I don't think it's true, either, to say that it will not/cannot help your dog. Vets prescribe it very often. I use it with the thought process that it isn't going to hurt my dog, so if there's even a slight chance it will help, why not? It's a cheap supplement. I'd rather throw in 2 scoops of a supplement that could possibly give my dog an added 6 months-2 years of quality living than not throw in the 2 scoops and be wondering if it would have helped.

As a side note, my dogs get blood work done 1-2 times a year and nothing has ever been amiss. My vet thinks that a combination of exercise and glucoasmine, chondroitin, vitamin E, and fish oil are the reason my 10 year old GP who had a CCL tear that was not treated is still getting around perfectly fine.

I do agree that even though I personally would supplement with glucosamine, the best thing you can do for your dog is keep her fit and lean and be cautious of how much she exercise and goes up and down stairs, jumps off of things or out of cars, etc until her growth plates are closed. Those things are proven to be beneficial whereas supplementing may or may not help her in the long run.
 
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