Using Green Lipped Mussel for Canine Arthritis and Inflammation

A few months ago, we started giving our corgi Ty green lipped mussel supplements to treat chronic bursitis in his shoulder that resulted in a chronic limp. Unfortunately, that condition stopped Ty’s agility career, although he still enjoys doing noseworks. At one point we were contemplating surgery, but after taking green lipped mussel for several months, Ty is nearly pain free. Since the results have been so good, I wanted to share what I have learned about using green lipped mussel as a supplement.

The green lipped mussel originates in New Zealand. Powdered extract of the mussel is very high in omega 3s, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. The use of green lipped mussel to treat inflammatory conditions in dogs is relatively new. But after several studies showed significant improvement in dogs treated with it, it started to pick up steam. The Journal of Nutrition summarized several of these studies nicely. It was found that green lipped mussel was effective in reducing arthritic signs in dogs, and it did so best when freeze dried power was sprinkled directly onto the food. A Finnish study noted that the there are no known side effects to using green lipped mussel, and that it was an acceptable alternative to prescription drugs such as Rimadyl for treating inflammation, although it seemed to lack some of the pain relief that Rimadyl provides.

Given that use of Rimadyl has been criticized based on serious side effects, including deaths, I was rather reluctant to use it to treat Ty’s bursitis. However, we did give Ty Rimadyl during two different treatment cycles. He also took  prednisone on multiple occasions. Prednisone worked to clear up Ty’s bursitis, but it is not a drug that is intended for long term use. As soon Ty he went off of it, his limp would return. Rimadyl did nothing for him, and I thought that he even got a bit worse when he took it.

After learning about green lipped mussel, I consulted with my veterinarian and ordered some, which was a bit difficult because green lipped mussel must be cold processed to be most effective. I ran into difficulties finding a capsule form that was guaranteed cold processed and was also small enough for me to use one capsule as a dose for a 25-27 pound corgi. Dosing recommendations for maintenance are 15mg/pound of weight, so Ty needed around 375-400 mg. Dosing can be slightly increased for active symptoms. I finally found one in New Zealand in 500 mg capsules and got it ordered.

Once the capsule arrived, I gave Ty most of it sprinkled on his food every morning. Right off, I must say that the capsules smell! They are freeze dried ground up mussels after all. But Ty thought it was wonderful. He loves his fishy powder! We started noticing results after a couple of weeks and, after about a month, he was often limp free. After several months, Ty limps only occasionally, typically after heavy play. Speaking of, it’s fair to mention that Ty also started getting more active again running and playing chase, which he’d stopped because of the pain.

Aside from green lipped mussel, Ty also takes an MSM/Glucosamine/Chondroitin supplement and fish oil with Vitamin E. He also sees a chiropractor for physical therapy, although those sessions are no longer needed regularly. The company I originally purchased from seems to have gone out of business, so I am now ordering the Xtend-Life capsules (also available on Amazon.com). These are 600 mg capsules, which makes dosing more difficult for a small dog since some of the powder will have to be wasted or saved for the next day, but it was the only one I could find that guaranteed that it was properly processed on its website. The chiropractor recently recommended that Eve take green lipped mussel since she has minor back issues, so I might split a capsule between the 2 dogs and see if that is enough to dose both of them.

If your dog has an inflammatory condition, you might want to look into supplementing with green lipped mussel. As with any treatment program, if you are interested in trying green-lipped mussel, consult with your veterinarian before adding it to your pet’s diet.

Learn more at Dogs Naturally.

Follow Carleen and her corgis on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and find them at the blogs Beauty and Fashion Tech, and Puppy on a Roomba. You can also follow Puppy on a Roomba on Facebook.

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