A friend sent me a question. What do I think of a new pet chew called Bimini for
arthritis in dogs?
I looked it up. Contains fish oil, cat’s claw and aspirin (willow bark)
1. All versions of Salicylic acid are anti-inflammatory in dogs and cats.
However, dose & frequency is much smaller and they are more prone to adverse
side effects. Salicylic acid (SA) relieves pain quicker than glucosamines(GCAs
) but no better after 1 month on GCAs. Long term SA has serious side ffects
like GI ulcers, cartilage, liver and kidney damage.
2.Cat’s Claw, from South America, and Devil’s claw, from Africa, are related
anti-inflammatory herbs with a mix of anti-inflammatory chemicals. Must be
used carefully as there are side effects from the Cox1 and Cox2 enzymes within
each. Dog and cats are more sensitive to side effects than people or horses so
I like to use products where I know the dose as owners often use more than one
thing. This treat is like taking aspirin and Ibuprofen. The additive dose has
great pain relief and more risk for toxic side effects after a few weeks. All
effects are dose and frequency dependent.
When I use choose an herbal to replace an anti-inflammatory medicine, I choose
Noni ( made by Dr.s Best brand, dried leaves or roots) at 5-10 mg/lb dose to
start which can be slowly increased to 3 times beginning dose. I choice Noni
because at the effective doses there are no adverse side effects. Main draw
back is that it takes about 3 months to reach full physiologic effect, but
pain relief begin after 1 week and increase for 1 month.
3. Fish oil. Based on studies with arthritic dogs, Omega 3 FA from Fish oil,
where more effective at pain and inflammation relief compared to NSAIDs,
glucosamines, alone or with MSM. Doses of 350 – 750 mg O3 FA or 1000 -2000mg
of Fish oil.
Keep in mind that Omega3 FA from Fish oil assist the synovial cells to work
better to protect the joint. Also, other studies looked at the amount &
quality of Omega 3 in fortified dog foods or treats that are kibble or semi-
soft forms. Cooking of kibbles or storage of oil soaked semi-soft damaged the
FAs, oxidizing the FAs to an inactive form. Plus, most did not have enough
Omega 3 FA in them to have beneficial effect. Best diet source of FA is
dribbled on top of food just before feeding. Even the science diet & purina
arthritis diets, with FA sprayed over kibble right before packaging did not
have significant clinical effect.
There are many many (100s) herbal anti-inflammatories used for centuries as
medicine. Studies to objectively compare these herbs to one another have not
been done yet. So whether one is the best in not known. Evaluating the many
studies of anti-inflammatory herbs, they are dosed up to effect. Taking that
into account, I find the main ones are all similar in prevention of pain and
inflammation so the main differences are side effects, how easy to use, and
price of course. In general mixtures are almost always less effective when
compared to an effective dose of a single ingredient. These chews are likely
one ingredient, with a little of the other two ingredients and allot of flavor
filler to cover up the bad taste of either herb. Cat claw dose ~ $0.12 or
aspirin tabs $0.03 are much less expensive than these soft chews, either one
is enough. Fish oil purified concentrate is about $2/oz from a vet and dogs
love the taste. Big dogs need 1 tsp/day fish oil so that is 1/6th oz. So cats
claw + aspirin with fish oil added to food for 80 lb dog is $0.45/day.
Compare to price of $1.30 for a daily dose of Bimini for same size dog.After
one month they recommend every other day dosing which reduces price to $.65,
still more that the total of individual ingredients.
So there you go… a long answer. However all that said, it seems that
marketing trumps effectiveness, safety and price because these types of
supplements are selling in large numbers.