The efficacy of calcium pentosan polysulphate (CaPPS) as a slow-acting drug for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the canine stifle joint, secondary to cranial cruciate ligament deficiency, was tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial over a period of one year. Dogs with the deficiency were treated surgically, matched for bodyweight, and randomly assigned to treatment or placebo groups. Active treatment began six weeks postoperatively and consisted of 10 mg/kg caPPs orally, once weekly for four weeks, repeated every 12 weeks. The outcome was assessed in terms of function by the dogs' owners, by the radiographical grading of the osteoarthritis, and by the measurement of total sulphated glycosaminoglycans and the 5D4 epitope of keratan sulphate in the synovial fluids of affected joints. There were no differences either in functional outcome or in the radiographical progression of osteoarthritis between the two groups. Fifty-four weeks after surgery, the concentration of 5D4 in synovial fluid (expressed as change from baseline values) had decreased significantly in the treatment group compared with the placebo group (P=0.03).
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