Veterinary Record 164:418-424 doi:10.1136/vr.164.14.418
  • Paper

Systematic review of the management of canine osteoarthritis

  1. J. F. Innes, BVSc, PhD, CertVR, DSAS(orth), MRCVS1
  1. 1 Small Animal Teaching Hospital and Musculoskeletal Research Group, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  2. 2 353a Boulevard Grignan, 83000 Toulon, France
  3. 3 Department of Rheumatology, University Hospital, Lille, France
  4. 4 Unité de Chirurgie/Anesthésiologie, Département des Animaux de Compagnie, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, 1 Avenue Bourgelat, 69280 Marcy L'Etoile, France
  5. 5 Centro Veterinario de Referencia Bahia de Malaga, Parque Empresarial Laurotorre 25, Alhaurin de la Torre, 29130 Malaga, Spain
  6. 6 Klinikum Veterinärmedizin, Klinik für Kleintiere, Chirurgie, Anästhesiologie, Schmerztherapie, Operative Intensivmedizin, Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Frankfurter Strasse 108, 35392 Giessen, Germany
  7. 7 Clinica Veterinaria Vezzoni, via Massarotti 60/A, 26100 Cremona, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Professor Innes, e-mail: j.f.innes{at}


This review assesses the evidence for the efficacy of therapies used in the management of osteoarthritis in dogs on the basis of papers published in peerreviewed journals in English between 1985 and July 2007. Sixty-eight papers were identified and evaluated. They considered four alternative therapies, one use of functional food, two intra-articular agents, six nutraceutical agents, 21 pharmacological agents, two physical therapies, three surgical techniques and two combinations of weight control. There was a high level of comfort (strong evidence) for the efficacy of carprofen, firocoxib and meloxicam, and a moderate level of comfort for the efficacy of etodolac in modifying the signs of osteoarthritis. There was a moderate level of comfort for the efficacy of glycosaminoglycan polysulphate, licofelone, elk velvet antler and a functional food containing green-lipped mussel for the modification of the structures involved in the disease. There was weak or no evidence in support of the use of doxycycline, electrostimulated acupuncture, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, gold wire acupuncture, hyaluronan, pentosan polysulphate, P54FP (extract of turmeric), tiaprofenic acid or tibial plateau levelling osteotomy.

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