Aim: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of an extract of green-lipped mussel (GLME) in the management of mild-to-moderate degenerative joint disease (DJD) in dogs.
Methods: Eighty-one dogs presumptively diagnosed with DJD were treated orally daily with either GLME or a placebo for 56 days, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. In an uncontrolled open-label extension to the study, all dogs were treated with GLME for an additional 56 days (from Days 57-112). Clinical signs were subjectively scored by the owners, and findings of detailed musculoskeletal examinations were scored by one veterinarian. Efficacy was assessed from a qualitative comparison of the proportion of dogs with improved clinical signs, and a quantitative comparison of the scores of the musculoskeletal examinations, between groups. Haematological and biochemical analyses and reports by owners of possible adverse drug reactions were used to screen for evidence of toxicity.
Results: There was close agreement between assessments by the veterinarian and owners. The clinical signs of DJD in both GLME-treated and placebo groups improved significantly over baseline by Day 28; this improvement continued over the entire course of the study. There were no significant differences between groups on Day 28. On Day 56, a higher proportion of dogs in the GLME-treated group had improved clinical signs (p=0.018), and GLME-treated dogs had marginally better (p=0.053) musculoskeletal scores than dogs in the placebo group. The differences between the groups were no longer apparent by Day 112, by which time the former placebo group had been receiving GLME for 56 days in the open-label phase of the study. The proportion of dogs in the former placebo group that had improved by Day 112 (29/32; 91%) was significantly greater (p=0.012) than the proportion improved at Day 56 (15/37; 41%). No signs of toxicity were apparent.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: GLME had a beneficial effect on the clinical signs of dogs presumptively diagnosed with mild-to-moderate DJD. Long-term therapy may be required before improvement is apparent.