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Advance Access Publication 29 October 2007
Evaluating Complementary Therapies for Canine OsteoarthritisPart I: Green-lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus)
Anna Hielm-Bjo¨rkman1, Riitta-Mari Tulamo1, Hanna Salonen2 and Marja Raekallio1
1Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki,PO Box 57, Fi-00014, Finland and 2Huhtakoukku 16, 02340, Espoo, Finland
A green-lipped mussel (GLM) preparation was evaluated in a randomized, double-controlledand double-blinded clinical trial. It was hypothesized that the treatment effect would be less
than that of the positive control (carprofen) but more than that of the negative control(placebo). Forty-five dogs with chronic pain and a radiographic diagnosis of osteoarthritisthat were randomly allocated into one of three groups completed the study. All dogs were fedthe test products or placebo for 8 weeks. The dogs were evaluated four times, at 4-weekintervals. Six different variables were assessed: veterinary-assessed mobility index, twoforce plate variables, owner-evaluated chronic pain index and pain as well as locomotionvisual analogue scales (VASs). Intake of extra carprofen was also evaluated. A chi-squared
and a Mann–Whitney test were used to determine significance between groups. When changedto dichotomous variables, there were more dogs in the GLM than in the placebo groupthat improved, according to veterinary-assessed mobility, owner-evaluated chronic pain indexand pain VAS (P = 0.031, P = 0.025, P = 0.011, respectively). For the same three, theodds ratio and their confidence interval were over one. The extent of improvement wassignificantly different between the GLM and the control in veterinary-assessed mobility(P = 0.012) and pain VAS (P = 0.004). In conclusion, GLM alleviated chronic orthopedicpain in dogs although it was not as effective as carprofen. As no side-effects were detected,GLM may be beneficial in dogs e.g. when non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs cannotbe used.
Keywords: Controlled – dog – LyproflexÕ – nutraceutical – OA – placebo
as naturally occurring, biologically effective nutritionalsupplements that can confer some degree of health
Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest
benefit and there is a whole new science referred to as
in new treatment options for osteoarthritis (OA), both
‘bioprospecting’(3) that explores and introduces these
for humans and pets, especially dogs. The so-called
new herbs—or animal molecules or products. Currently,
nutraceuticals have become available, since some patients
several nutraceuticals on the market are claiming to
cannot tolerate or do not want to take the risk of non-
relieve arthritic symptoms. These products generally
steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because of
fall mainly into two distinct product groups, including
their side-effects (1,2). Nutraceuticals have been described
or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly
For reprints and all correspondence: Anna Hielm-Bjo¨rkman, DVM,
CVA, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Equine and Small
Animal Medicine, University of Helsinki, PO Box 57, FI-00014,
that may benefit OA is a product based on Perna
Finland. Tel: +358-400885255; Fax: +358-9-19157298;E-mail: email@example.com
canaliculus, or the green-lipped mussel (GLM) that
ß 2007 The Author(s).
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work isproperly cited.
Green-lipped mussel for canine osteoarthritis
has been thoroughly examined by Halpern (4) [see
walking up or down stairs, or definite lameness. Dogs
were excluded from the study if they had had prior
The early GLM-based products were often produced
from rejected mussel meat from human food processing,
symptoms, systemic or infectious disease, neurological
which typically included steam processing as part of
deficits, lameness from articular infection, or recent
the manufacturing process and the early trials using
these unstable GLMs, showed poor results. In the 1980s,
Sixty-eight dogs were chosen based on 124 telephone
a method of temperature-controlled cold processing
interviews with owners. Of these, 51 dogs will be
and stabilization of GLM by adding organic acids
presented here and the remaining 17 constituted a
to prevent oxidation and freeze-drying was patented
treatment group for another study (17). Six dogs
(6). After 1986, this new stabilized GLM has been in
(two in each group) were excluded from the study at
use and is documented to be efficacious in treating
some point for the following reasons: having had a
experimental arthritis in rats (7,8), clinical arthritis
previous operation of the affected hip joint, having
in humans (9,10) and more recently also in dogs (11,12).
a transverse vertebra (n = 2), sustaining a cruciate
The GLM product used in this study, which originates
ligament injury (n = 2) and diagnosed with degenerative
from mussel farms in the Pacific Ocean, has been
myelopathy. There were 15 dogs in each group that
harvested when the mussels are 12 to 18-months old,
finished the study: 12 dogs with canine hip dysplasia
and is stabilized, freeze-dried at À40C and packed
(CHD) and three dogs with elbow OA in each group, all
immediately thereafter. The GLM product is a rich
confirmed by radiographs. Twenty-five dogs were male
and 20 were female. The median age was 6 years
(GAGs), such as chondroitin sulfates, vitamins, minerals
(range 1–11) and the median body weight (BW) was
and Omega-3 series PUFAs. It is not totally clear how
34 kg (range 18–56). There were both uni- and bi-laterally
the products function (13) [this is not totally clear for
affected dogs. All dogs had either moderate or severe
NSAIDs either (14,15)], despite substantial research.
radiological changes in the worst-affected hip or elbow
Although there has been only a few studies published
on the use of stabilized GLM on dogs, it is already
Owners were asked not to give the dogs NSAIDs or
available for dogs with OA, as a powder, as capsules or
corticosteroids for at least 30 days and no Na-pentosan
The aim of this study was to evaluate a GLM
Australia) for at least 90 days prior to the study.
product as an OA nutraceutical for dogs in a random-
However, this proved not to be always the case, as
some owners felt that their dogs were in such pain that
We expected the positive control carprofen to signifi-
they therefore gave them NSAIDs. The use of the
cantly reduce pain and locomotion difficulties, and
additional analgesic pre-trial was, however, recorded in
the negative control (placebo) to have no such effect.
The effect of the nutraceutical was hypothesized to liesomewhere between those of the positive and negative.
Objective, semi-objective and subjective variables wereused for assessment. Since the GLM is also used in
humans, the treatment outcome is of interest for many
Cambridgeshire/Biofarm Oy, Finland). The capsules
people as OA is becoming one of the most prevalent
and costly diseases in our aging society. Due to the
side-effects associated with NSAIDs, 60–90% of dissa-
tisfied human arthritis patients are reported to seek
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/100 g and >400 mg docosa-
complementary therapies for their disease (16).
hexaenoic acid (DHA)/100 g. The initial dose was4 (for dogs 40 kg BW) or 6 (for dogs > 40 kg BW)capsules/day for 10 days, then continuing with half of
the loading dose (i.e. two or three capsules) for the rest ofthe study. This meant an initial dose of 20–49 mg/kg/day
Inclusion criteria were that dogs had clinical signs and a
Two control groups were included: the established
radiographic diagnosis of OA, in either a hip joint or an
positive control carprofen (RimadylÕ 50 mg; Pfizer,
elbow joint. The owner had to have described at least two
Helsinki, Finland) at a dose of 2 mg/kg twice a day and
of the following signs as being frequent: difficulty in lying
a negative control that received all products as placebos.
down and/or in getting up from a lying position,
Carprofen was a white pill without the usual stamp
difficulty in jumping or refusing to jump, difficulty in
and its placebo an identical lactose tablet, GLM was
a greenish capsule and its placebo a very similarly colored
lactose capsule. In addition, all dogs were administered
an ampoule of isotonic sodium chloride solution as a
following evaluation, owners answered a three-part
placebo for another study (17). The products were coded
questionnaire. The first part used a descriptive scale of
and organized by a research assistant who was not
0–4 and contained questions about attitude, behavior and
locomotion. Of these, 11 questions were combined to
For ethical reasons, all owners were also given a
form a combined owner-assessed chronic pain index, as
package of 50 mg carprofen in normal packaging and
described previously (20). The second part contained two
with the normal stamp on the tablet, at the start of the
10 cm visual analogue scales (VASs): one for pain and
trial. This could be used as additional pain relief (dose of
the other for locomotion. The end of the lines to the
one tablet for a dog of 20–30 kg BW, two tablets for a
left represented no pain or no difficulties in locomotion,
dog of 31–40 kg and three tablets for a dog of 41–60 kg)
and to the right, the worst possible pain or the most
if they felt the dog was in considerable pain. The number
severe difficulties in locomotion. The third part consisted
of additional carprofen doses used was recorded in the
of questions about possible adverse reactions to treat-
ment, including change in appetite, vomiting, diarrheaand atopic skin reactions. The question about additional
analgesics was not a continuous variable but used
the following scale: ‘during the last four weeks additional
The study was designed as a randomized double-
carprofen was given 1 = not at all, 2 = 1–2 times,
3 = about once a week, 4 = about 3–5 times a week,
CONSORT guidelines (19). A secretary made the first
appointments, and at this first visit (W0), the dogs were
assigned into groups, in order of arrival using a
computer-generated random list. Only the location ofthe diseased (hip or elbow OA) was stratified for in the
randomization. Initial clinical, orthopedic and neurologi-
(Kistler forceplate, Type 9286, Kistler Instrumente AG
cal examinations were performed and diagnostic criteria
Winterhur, CH-8408, Switzerland), which assesses weight
included decreased range of motion and pain on
bearing of limbs. The force plate was submerged into the
stretching the hip or flexing the elbow. Radiographs
concrete floor so that the plate and floor surfaces were on
were taken of the dogs’ hips and/or elbows and other
the same level. The floor was then covered with a 2 mm
thick rubber mat that extended from 7 m before to 7 m
was set as baseline, except for pre-trial analgesic
after the plate, forming a 14 m walkway. A hole was cut
medication, where the assessment was made at W
in the mat over the force plate and a 3–4 mm gap was
the owners were told not to use them anymore between
left between the force plate mat and the rest of the mat.
The signal from the plate was processed and stored using
À4 and W0. Follow-up visits with questionnaires for
reassessment were at 4, 8 and 12 weeks (W
a computer-based software program, and velocities
and acceleration were determined by three photoelectric
The dogs were given the products orally for
cells placed exactly 1 m apart and a start-interrupt
off all medication for 4 weeks and were evaluated to
determine long-term effects of the different treatments
as follow up. All evaluators (veterinarians and owners)
Dogs guided by their owners trotted over the walkway
and all technical assistants were blinded. Owners of
from left to right. The speed was one comfortable
the dogs were required to sign informed consent forms.
for each dog in trot and had to be in the same range
Committee of the University of Helsinki.
performed (at W0, W4, W8 and W12). The accelerationwas < 0.5 m/s/s and contact had to be made with theplate first by the forelimb and shortly after with the hindlimb of the same side for the evaluation to be valid. The
test was repeated until sufficient valid results were
Two veterinarians subjectively assessed three parameters
obtained for both left and right limbs.
at W0, W4, W8 and W12: locomotion, jumping and
Three valid measurements for each side and for each
walking stairs using 0–4 descriptive scales. The three
visit were then chosen by a blinded assistant (one
scores assigned by the two veterinarians were summed to
not otherwise participating in the study) according to
form a veterinary-assessed mobility index, with a possible
speed, acceleration and with no interferences, such as
minimum score of 0 and a maximum of 24 (2 Â 3 Â 0–4).
gait abnormalities or extra body movements. The mean
Green-lipped mussel for canine osteoarthritis
of these three measurements was used for analysis.
The ground reaction forces were normalized for eachdog’s BW and mean peak vertical force (PVF) and mean
vertical impulse were used as variables. Only measure-
Baseline variable median (range) values were: for the
ments from the most severely affected leg at time
veterinary-assessed mobility index: 6 (0–18), PVF: 71.21
(54.7–135.25), vertical impulse: 9.11 (6.02–19.9), owner-evaluated chronic pain index: 16 (4–25), pain VAS: 3.55
(0–8.4) and locomotion VAS: 4.8 (0–8.3). There was nostatistical bias between the groups at baseline. The
Blood samples were collected from the dogs at each visit.
evaluations of the two veterinarians correlated well
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, serum alanine
aminotransferase (ALAT), alkaline phosphatase (AFOS),total protein and albumin were analyzed.
There were four dogs (all from the placebo group) that
had used extra carprofen more than three times per week
The number of dogs needed in each group was
at W8. For three of the variables [veterinary-assessed
calculated for a two-tailed test (Fisher). The sample size
(n = 15/group) was sufficiently large to detect a 47%
(P = 0.028) and pain VAS (P = 0.011)] there were
difference (11) in treatment outcome (effective versus not
significantly more improved dogs in the GLM group
effective) with a statistical power of 0.8 and allowing for
compared to the placebo group (Table 1). The odds
ratio for the veterinary-assessed mobility index was 5.5
To counteract the effect of the extra NSAID on dogs
(95% CI 1.14–26.41) indicating that a dog that had
received the GLM product was 5.5 times more likely to
8 had used extra carprofen more than three
have a positive response compared to a dog that had
most negative value measured for any dog at that time.
received the placebo. The odds ratio for the force plate
This enabled us to use the whole data in the statistical
PVF was 2.50 (95% CI 0.52–11.93), for the force
plate impulse 2.40 (95% CI 0.52–10.99), for the owner-
assessed chronic pain index was 6.0 (95% CI 1.17–30.72),
for the pain VAS 8.0 (95% CI 1.52–42.04) and for the
ratio, the results of each variable were converted into
locomotion VAS 4.12 (95% CI 0.88–19.27).
dichotomous responses of ‘improved’ and ‘not improved’.
Dogs that deteriorated and dogs with no change in
the evaluated variable were considered ‘not improved’.
The difference between the treatment groups and the
All variables showed a similar trend of improvement,
placebo was calculated using a chi-squared test. The odds
with carprofen being the most efficient, placebo the
ratio was calculated using the common Mantel–Haenszel
least and GLM being between these two (Table 1). There
odds ratio estimate and the confidence interval (CI) was
was a significant difference between the GLM and the
set to 95%. An odds ratio more than 1.0 indicated a
placebo in two variables [veterinary-assessed mobility
beneficial effect of the test treatments.
index (P = 0.012) and pain VAS (P = 0.004)] and a
The changes from baseline to W8 were also calculated
third variable was close to significant [locomotion VAS
for each variable. The difference between the GLM and
placebo group was analyzed using the Mann–Whitneytest. The changes from W0 to W8 in the force plate
variables were proportional in the front and hind legs,although the values were different. Therefore, force plate
At WÀ4, before the owners were requested to stop all
data of all four legs were analyzed together. The dogs, for
medication, 14% of the carprofen group, 13% of the
which no force plate results could be registered, were
GLM group and 8% of the placebo group were given
considered ‘not improved’ in the dichotomous evalua-
NSAIDs once a week or more. At W8, (Fig. 1) 0, 7 and
tions and excluded in the median analyses. A correlation
27% of the respective groups were given additional
test was used to evaluate the association between
carprofen once a week or more. At follow-up (W12),
the assessments of the two veterinarians. Statistical
the respective numbers were 33, 14 and 29%. The
differences between both GLM and carprofen compared
were preformed using SPSS 12.0 for Windows (SPSS
to the placebo group at time W8 were significant
(P = 0.021 and P = 0.008, respectively).
Table 1. Percentage of improved dogs and median (range) of improvement for evaluated variables, per group from W0 to W8
For each treatment group: First column: Percentage of dogs in the group that improved. Below: P = Difference in percentage of improved betweentreatment groups and placebo. Second column: Median (with range) of change from W0 to W8 [(+), improvement; (À), deterioration] in evaluatedvariables for the carprofen-, GLM- and placebo-groups. P = Difference in improvement between treatment groups and placebo (the force platevalues do not include three dogs for whom no results were obtained). n, number of patients per group; GLM, green-lipped mussel; PVF, peakvertical force; VAS, visual analogue scale.
euthanized between W8 and W12 due to severe pain.
In populations, neither our findings of clinical side-
effects nor clinical chemistry in any of the blood
parameters were severe or related to any particular
group. Palatability was never a concern.
In our study, dogs showed a beneficial clinical response
to treating OA-induced pain and locomotion difficultieswith GLM. More dogs improved in the GLM group
compared to the placebo group and the extent oftreatment effects was between that of our two control
n of dogs per group
groups, as can be seen from the median values in Table 1.
The carprofen had in previous studies shown 56–80%of improvement in dogs with OA (graded by veterinar-
ians and owners) whereas the placebo in the samestudies showed improvement in only 23–38% of thecases (21, 22). As these numbers are close to the resultswe obtained in our study for the two control groups
(Table 1), they indicate that our cohort reflects realitywell and that we can trust the results of our treatmentgroup. The fact that extra carprofen was used signifi-
Figure 1. At the end of the treatment period (W8), there was 4/15 dogsin the placebo group given extra carprofen 3–7 days/week (n = number
cantly more often in the placebo group at W8 is also a
positive result for the tested product.
This positive outcome opens a discussion about
possible working mechanisms of the GLM (Fig. 2).
In the early GLM clinical trials on human patients, the
Three dogs (one in the GLM group, two in the placebo
outcomes were not good and often contradictory (23,24).
group) were so lame during the visits that no usable data
Twenty years later, possibly after having stabilized the
were obtained from the force plate. Two of these dogs
product by freeze-drying and lyophilizing, the results of
(one in the GLM group, one in the placebo group) were
clinical trials for GLM have been significantly promising
Green-lipped mussel for canine osteoarthritis
GLM: Omega-3 PUFAs-Eicosatetraenoic acids (ETA)
Figure 2. Main active constituents of the green lipped mussel and their effect on the inflammation pathways of osteoarthritis. The main activeconstituents, according to how we understand their working mechanisms now: The Omega-3 PUFAs (especially the ETAs) have anti-inflammatoryactivity; they possess significant cyclo-oxygenase (COX 1 and 2) and lipoxygenase (LOX-5) inhibitory activity. Due to their glycosaminoglycancontent (especially chondroitin sulphate with its high glucosamine content), the GLM may have chondroprotective properties. The vitamins andminerals are needed in cartilage anabolism. GLM, green-lipped mussel; Th, T helper cell; IL, interleukin; TNF, tumor necrosis factor.
(9–12). The lyophilizing process might have been the
This dual inhibition of both LOX- and COX metabolic
more important as in fact, the difference in lipid, sterol or
pathways may offer an explanation for the reported
fatty acid composition of frozen and freeze-dried GLM
clinical efficacy and favorable gastrointestinal tolerability
has been shown to be non-existent; the only major
of GLM. Platelet aggregation remains unaltered and the
difference was between total lipid composition on a dry
lipid fraction be non-gastrotoxic in fasted disease-stressed
weight basis because of the removal of water in the deep-
arthritic rats at a dose of 300 mg/kg (treatment dose
20 mg/kg) (8,13). This shows that the GLM does not have
activity of GLM powder was confirmed in vivo using
the negative side-effects of the NSAIDs. Recently, new
the established rat paw oedema model; rats fed mussel
GLM extracts were tested (26) and a Tween-20 extract
lipids perorally developed neither adjuvant-induced poly-
(that draws out membrane-bound proteins by a cationic
arthritis nor collagen-induced auto-allergic arthritis (8).
detergent) effectively inhibits both COX-1 and COX-2
However, these lipids showed only marginal inhibition of
activity. It also induced a significant reduction in TNF-a,
carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats (acute irritation
IL-1, IL-2 and IL-6 and decreased IgG levels, indicating
assay, which is the standard test for NSAIDs), indicating
that GLM may regulate the immune system and promote
that they do not mimic rapid-acting NSAIDs (8,13).
Macrides and others (7) found that the ETAs of GLM
The active components possess a molecular weight
had considerable anti-inflammatory activity. In vitro, the
above 100 kDa and when a proteolytic enzyme was added
extracted lipids have been shown to possess significant
to the extract, it eliminated the component effective
cyclo-oxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX-5) inhi-
against inflammatory cytokines, suggesting that at least
bitory activity; hence, the GLM seems to be working on
part of the active substance resides in the protein
the same mechanisms as newer NSAIDs (8).
moiety associated with the glycogen, probably as a
glycoprotein (26), as already had been suggested earlier
significantly decreasing pain scale throughout the study
(27). However, the component effective against COX
(12) but obtained only close to significant differences
compared to the placebo group (that in our opinion was
indicating that there are different types of active
quite unsuitable as a placebo, including both brewers’
components (26). It was suggested that GLM mediates
yeast and dried fin-fish, which probably both would work
T-(lymphocytes) helper cells Th1/Th2 regulation as it
relates to inflammation and therefore plays an immuno-
As far as side-effects from these products, they were
modulatory role (26). The chondroitin sulfate and the
neither severe nor related to any group. Carprofen and
other GAGs of the GLM further work as building blocks
other NSAIDs can potentially have severe side-effects
in cartilage anabolism; glucosamine is one of their main
such as hepatic disease (especially in Labradors), renal
constituents. They help the joint capsule to hold water
toxicosis and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract (1,2),
and to adapt to changes in pressure, thereby absorbing
whereas GLM is reported to have none (9,10,34). In fact,
shock induced by abnormal join stress (28). The role of
research suggests that GLM may have chondroprotective
minerals and vitamins has not been studied, but it is
properties due to its GAG, especially chondroitin sulfate,
possible that they also contribute to the positive effects of
content (35–37). In addition, GLM has a slower onset
the GLM. As seen earlier, the GLM probably acts
(34,38–41) but a longer effect (23). The preliminary
through several different working mechanisms.
human study by Gibson et al. (23) indicated that
Three studies exist on stabilized GLM as a treatment
the beneficial effects of GLM treatment, could last for
for canine OA and our findings are consistent with two
2–3 weeks after cessation of therapy, if given at least for
of them. Bierer and Bui (11) conducted three 6-week,
2 months. Our follow-up evaluation was at W12, 4 weeks
randomized, double-blinded trials, in which they com-
after discontinuation of the trial, and the beneficial
pared three different GLM dog feeds with control feeds.
effects were still evident as could be seen e.g. by a smaller
They used a total arthritic score by summing eight
intake of extra carprofen in the GLM group compared to
variables. As in our study, all individual variables showed
no significant improvement, although a significant change
Carprofen, by contrast, rapidly triggers the clinical
was observed in the total arthritis score in favor of all
response, but this vanishes quickly upon discontinuing
three GLM test groups. In our study, a different set of
the drug, which also was documented in our study where
variables was used. The veterinarians evaluated only
a third of owners in the carprofen group were using extra
mobility and not range of motion, crepitus, etc., as we
carprofen at follow up, compared to none at the end of
had noted that owner compliance was much higher if
the treatment period. The placebo group seemed to react
provocations that hurt the dogs were not used.
in accordance with the seasonal disease pattern of our
Two force plate measurements were chosen as objective
geographical region, although the means changed only
variables. Force plate has been used in similar studies
slightly and the CI were large, making an exact inter-
to evaluate treatments of hip (22,29–31) and elbow
pretation difficult: they started showing more signs of
(22,31,32) joints. The best variables for these conditionswere considered to be PVF and vertical impulse, both
pain when the weather changed (42,43) to a humid,
of which were included here. The change from baseline
raw cold (our placebo group became worse between W0
to end of treatment in vertical impulse and PVF in our
to W8) (Fig. 1) and later in the spring when the weather
study was in the same range as in previous studies (30)
turned warm and dry (W8 to W12) the dogs were better
but the range was larger. Furthermore, we used three
owner-assessed variables: two VAS scores, one of them
In future studies, to obtain an optimal effect from
widely used in studies assessing human pain and a
the GLM product, should reconsider some aspects of the
chronic pain index that has been shown to correlate well
treatment regime. As OA often is a clinically variable
with chronic pain due to hip OA in dogs (20). In our
disease, not having homogeneous groups is a major
study two of these three owner-assessed variables showed
drawback, and this likely influenced the results. However,
significance between the GLM group and the placebo.
although the cohort of dogs was non-homogeneous,
Thus, while our variables were different from the eight
observed as a wide range even at the start of the trial, the
variables of Bierer and Bui (11), also only three of our
documented trend of improvement was clear and similar
six variables showed a significant improvement between
for all variables and may even have been more evident,
if we had more dogs. The positive effects of the GLM
0 and W8 in the GLM group, compared to the placebo
could eventually have been underestimated, rather than
In the second dog trial, Dobenecker (33) used a
overestimated: if a non-articular concurrent pain such as
smaller dose of GLM [25% of what was used by Bierer
spondylosis or secondary muscle pain, etc. was present,
and Bui (11) and of our initial dose] and found no
there would have been a positive analgesic effect for these
statistical improvement in the GLM dogs, compared to
also in the NSAID carprofen group, while the GLM
the placebo group. The third canine trial showed a
might have helped primarily in arthritic disorders (9–12).
Green-lipped mussel for canine osteoarthritis
The choice of patients and the treatment time might also
5. Cooper EL. The amazing science behind nature’s ‘miracle from the
sea’. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2005;2:569–70.
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Radiographically, all dogs in our study had moderate
patent 211928 (April 29, 1985); Australian patent PG 4775/84
or severe OA. Although the radiological data does not
7. Macrides TA, Treschow AP, Kalafatis N, Wright PFA. The anti-
correlate well with the true clinical picture, at least not
in dog hip joint (20), these dogs might have been too
isolated from a lipid extract from the New Zealand green-lipped
seriously affected to benefit optimally from the product.
mussel. In: Proceedings of the 88th American Oil Chemists SocietyAnnual Meeting: May 1997, Seattle; 1997.
In one of the older human studies, severity of the disease
was shown to have an impact on treatment outcome;
Haynes DR, Broadbent J. The anti-inflammatory activity of a
mild and moderate knee OA responded very well to
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GLM treatment, whereas patients with severe knee OA
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did not benefit from treatment (34). Also, our 2-month
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study period might have been too short, as some earlier
10. Cho SH, Jung YB, Seong SC, Park HB, Byun KY, Lee DC, et al.
human studies have been unable to show a significant
Clinical efficacy and safety of Lyprinol, a patented extract
improvement compared to controls until patients had
from New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) in
ingested fatty acid products for 3–6 months (34,38–41).
patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and knee: a multicenter 2-month clinical trial. Allergy Immunol 2003;6:212–6.
In conclusion, our results suggest that the modern
11. Bierer TL, Bui LM. Improvement of arthritic signs in dogs fed
stabilized and freeze-dried GLM is more effective than
green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus). J Nutr 2002;132 (Suppl):
the placebo in treating chronic pain due to moderate
12. Pollard B, Guilford WG, Ankenbauer-Perkins KL, Hedderley D.
to severe OA and that it has no side-effects. For dogs
Clinical efficacy and tolerance of an extract of green-lipped
that can not use NSAIDs or corticosteroids and for
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Received March 20, 2007; accepted July 12, 2007
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