According to statistics in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, osteoarthritis affects up to 15 million dogs in America, most over eight years old, and that canine hip dysplasia is one of the most common degenerative joint conditions.
As dogs age, their joints age just like ours. The cartilage between the knees and in the hips breaks down, releasing joint fluid and potentially creating inflammatory damage to structure of the joints, as well as a great deal of pain. As a result, many dog owners wonder if prescription pain medication – which may cause side effects – is their only choice to help their canine friend.
Fortunately, there are herbal extracts that can help, and boswellia (Boswellia serrata) is one of them. In fact, it fights inflammation and pain in a unique way.
Boswellia tackles a pain-causing enzyme that other powerful pain relieving botanicals and drugs struggle to defeat called 5-lipooxygenase, better known as “5-LOX.”
5-LOX activates inflammatory leukotrienes and is a major factor in arthritis pain and joint destruction. Researchers find elevated levels of 5-LOX activity in the synovial fluid between the joints in cases of arthritis that over time, damages their very structure.
Because boswellia directly inhibits 5-LOX and prevents the formation of leukotrienes, it doesn’t just alleviate pain—it stops the cause of the pain and preserves joints and hips. Additionally, reducing 5-LOX activity may also help alleviate digestive or respiratory issues, so including boswellia in a daily regimen can provide many benefits.
And although the relief from botanical ingredients for joints tend to start slowly and become more effective over time, boswellia may yield quick relief.
In this multi-center veterinary clinical trial, 71 percent of canines with chronic joint and spinal conditions saw noticeable results in just two weeks. They showed less joint stiffness, an improved gait, and reduced local pain at the joints.
The results for canines may depend on the choice of boswellia supplement. Like many plants, boswellia has compounds that can help prevent inflammation or that can actually cause it. One boswellia to look for is standardized to provide enhanced levels of a compound called acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid, best known by its abbreviation, “AKBA.”
Reichling J, Schmökel H, Fitzi J, Bucher S, Saller R. Dietary support with Boswellia resin in canine inflammatory joint and spinal disease. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2004 Feb;146(2):71-9.
An open multi-centre veterinary clinical trial, comparing conditions before and after treatment with a herbal dietary supplement consisting of a natural resin extract of Boswellia serrata, was conducted by 10 practicing veterinarians in Switzerland. This traditional plant-based supplement is known for its anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties. 29 dogs with manifestations of chronic joint and spinal disease were enrolled. Osteoarthritis and degenerative conditions were confirmed radiologically in 25 of 29 cases. The resin extract (BSB108, product of Bogar AG) was administered with the regular food at a dose of 400 mg/10 kg body weight once daily for 6 weeks. Already after two weeks of treatment, an overall efficacy of the dietary supplement was evident in 71% of 24 eligible dogs. A statistically significant reduction of severity and resolution of typical clinical signs in individual animals, such as intermittent lameness, local pain and stiff gait, were reported after 6 weeks. Effects of external factors that aggravate lameness, such as "lameness when moving" and "lameness after a long rest" diminished gradually. In 5 dogs, reversible brief episodes of diarrhea and flatulence occurred, but only once was a relationship to the study preparation suspected. Because quality and stability of the resin extract were ensured, these data suggest that a standardized preparation can be recommended as an herbal dietary supplement providing symptomatic support in canine osteoarthritic disease.
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