With osteoarthritis being the most common degenerative disease in pet animals, a very broad panel of natural health products is available on the market for its management. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis, registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021279368), was to test for the evidence of clinical analgesia efficacy of fortified foods and nutraceuticals administered in dogs and cats affected by osteoarthritis. In four electronic bibliographic databases, 1578 publications were retrieved plus 20 additional publications from internal sources. Fifty-seven articles were included, comprising 72 trials divided into nine different categories of natural health compound. The efficacy assessment, associated to the level of quality of each trial, presented an evident clinical analgesic efficacy for omega-3-enriched diets, omega-3 supplements and cannabidiol (to a lesser degree). Our analyses showed a weak efficacy of collagen and a very marked non-effect of chondroitin-glucosamine nutraceuticals, which leads us to recommend that the latter products should no longer be recommended for pain management in canine and feline osteoarthritis.
Keywords: animal; enriched diets; methodological quality; metrological validation; nutraceuticals; osteoarthritis; pain; scientific evidence.