Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is becoming part of NAVC VetFolio.
    Starting in January 2015, Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician articles will be available on
    NAVC VetFolio. VetFolio subscribers will have
    access to not only the journals, but also:
  • Over 500 hours of CE
  • Community forums to discuss tough cases
    and networking with your peers
  • Three years of select NAVC Conference
  • Free webinars for the entire healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.


  Sign up now for:
Become a Member

Care Guide

About Care Guides[x] These care guides are written to help your clients understand common conditions, tests, and procedures, as well as to provide basic information about pet care. They are based on the most up-to-date, documented information, recommendations, and guidelines available in the United States at the time of writing. Pharmaceutical product licensing, availability, and usage recommendations are based on US product information. Use the Download Handout button to generate a PDF for printing or e-mailing to your clients.

Injection of Adequan® Canine

    • Adequan® Canine, which is referred to as Adequan, is a medication manufactured by Novartis Animal Health.
    • Adequan slows cartilage destruction and promotes cartilage repair in dogs.
    • Adequan improves the texture of joint fluid, contributing to increased joint comfort and mobility.
    • Proper use of Adequan is associated with very few side effects.

    What Is Adequan?

    Canine osteoarthritis is an incurable disease that worsens over time. This means that managing the signs of osteoarthritis and trying to slow down how quickly the condition progresses are the only ways to improve the quality of life of dogs with this chronic illness. Managing the signs of osteoarthritis may involve giving medications to control pain and inflammation, promoting weight management, and conducting physical therapy sessions with the patient. Other treatments are aimed at slowing the progression of the disease. These products, known as disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs (DMOADs), can be an important part of the effort to manage osteoarthritis. Adequan is classified as a DMOAD and has been shown to slow or alter the progression of osteoarthritis in dogs. 

    What Is Adequan Used For?

    Adequan is used to help control the signs associated with canine osteoarthritis. It may be recommended for dogs with a variety of traumatic, chronic, or degenerative orthopedic problems, including the following:

    • Hip dysplasia (a genetic joint abnormality)
    • Elbow dysplasia (a genetic joint abnormality)
    • Chronic hip, knee, or back arthritis
    • Arthritis resulting from a traumatic injury 

    How Does Adequan Work?

    The active ingredient in Adequan is polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG), which has several effects that make it useful in treating osteoarthritis.

    After injection, Adequan is distributed very well into cartilage and joint fluid, in addition to other areas of the body. How Adequan works is not completely understood, but studies have shown that it inhibits the action of enzymes (proteins) that destroy cartilage. In this way, Adequan slows cartilage breakdown. Adequan also provides the body with a helpful joint substance called chondroitin sulfate, stimulates the production of collagen (an important substance in joint cartilage), and promotes the production of other building blocks that the body needs to create new joint cartilage. The combined effect is that Adequan slows cartilage breakdown and promotes cartilage production, effectively slowing the progression of canine osteoarthritis.

    Adequan also improves the texture of joint fluid, resulting in more joint lubrication and, therefore, improved joint mobility and comfort for dogs with osteoarthritis.

    How Are Adequan Injections Given?

    Adequan is a solution that is injected into a dog’s muscle. The recommended treatment schedule is one injection every 3 or 4 days for a total of eight injections. Generally, injections are given by your veterinarian during an outpatient visit.

    Although some dogs may show improvement after only a few injections, it is recommended that the entire treatment course be completed for optimal results.

    What Are the Benefits and Risks of Adequan Injections?

    When administered properly and at label dosages, Adequan is associated with very few side effects. Although adverse effects are uncommon and usually resolve without treatment, pain or swelling at the injection site has been reported. Delayed blood clotting has also been reported in some dogs receiving Adequan. For this reason, Adequan should not be used in dogs with a history of bleeding abnormalities. The safety of Adequan in pregnant or nursing dogs has not been evaluated, and it should be used with caution in dogs with liver or kidney impairment.

    For most dogs, the benefits of Adequan administration greatly outweigh the possible risks. Along with weight management, physical therapy, and medications to manage pain and inflammation, Adequan can be a valuable addition to the available therapies for dogs with osteoarthritis.