Adequan use in dogs

Adequan is a Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG) made by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals. It is used to treat degenerative joint disease (DJD) in horses and dogs. Luitpold founded its Animal Health division in 1984 to develop a treatment for DJD, and Adequan was the result of this endeavour.

Adequan Canine was developed for arthritis in dogs and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 to treat osteoarthritis. According to Luitpold, it is the only drug in the veterinary DJD market that is classified as "disease modifying."


The onset of osteoarthritis can occur from injury, old age or genetics. When joint cells are damaged or stressed, enzymes are released that further damage joint cartilage, attacking the lubricants of the joint fluid. Inflamed joint linings cause the underlying bone to weaken. When this happens, symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling are seen. Common joint conditions that may be improved by Adequan include hip dysplasia, geriatric arthritis, spondylitis, joint injury, ruptured cruciate ligaments and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). Adequan helps modify the disease cycle and control the symptoms of these conditions.

How it Works

Adequan Canine is administered via intramuscular injection twice a week for four weeks. It works by stimulating the cartilage repair process. It binds to damaged cartilage and blocks the enzymes that damage joints. It inhibits continuing cartilage damage and relieves pain by helping to keep your dog's joints lubricated and reducing inflammation, thus increasing ease of movement. Improvement is usually seen within four weeks of treatment.


No toxic effects have been reported with the recommended dosages. Adequan should not be used in dogs that have a known or suspected bleeding disorder, nor should it be given to dogs with sensitivity to PSGAG. Caution should be taken when giving the drug to dogs with hepatic or renal impairment. The safety of PSGAG for pregnant or lactating dogs has not been determined.

Side Effects

Adequan is well-tolerated and can be used on all breeds of dogs. Side effects are usually mild, and may include pain at the injection site, diarrhoea, depression, vomiting and abnormal bleeding. In clinical trials of 156 dogs, drug-related adverse reactions were reported in less than five dogs. The most frequent side effect was transient pain at the injection site.


Adequan Canine is different from other medications used to treat osteoarthritis. It is a member of the class of drugs called Disease-Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs (DMOAD), and is the only product of this type that is approved by the FDA for arthritis treatment, as well as the only product on the market that has been clinically shown to both relieve the pain and treat the disease. Adequan is only available through and administered by your veterinarian.