View Full Version : Glucosamine / chondroitin supplements for arthritis?

27-03-2019, 12:00 PM
One of our bunnies (she's only 4) has got arthritis :( We're booked in with the vets to get her on NSAIDs. Can anyone recommend the best glucosamine & chondroitin to supplement her diet with - is liquid or tablet best etc? And have you found it helps? Thank you

27-03-2019, 12:57 PM
I also have an arthritic bun, Luna. I think she was diagnosed at 2, maybe close to 3 years old.

the best thing is a daily (if not twice daily) painkiller of metacam, its helped manage Luna's condition well. we do blood tests every year to check her kidney & liver is functioning well.

oxbow have a joint support, I think its the only one on the market: https://www.thehayexperts.co.uk/joint-support-oxbow-natural-science.html

unfortunately I didn't have any luck as Luna peed on hers!!

27-03-2019, 01:26 PM
Aw it's sad when they get it so young! We will be putting her on Metacam, I do worry about the long term effects though :( Lol at Luna weeing on her biscuits! I've got some of those joint support biscuits but my girl doesn't seem very keen! Of course the buns who don't need them love them lol. I've found she eats them more if I break them into small pieces as they're very hard.

27-03-2019, 02:21 PM
yes it was quite early :( it was a bit of a shock but thankfully my vet didn't rule it out for her being so young.

if I'm not mistaken I think the whole unsafe for long term usage was observed in cats and dogs, and not rabbits. I think metacam is fairly well tolerated in rabbits compared to those of cats or dogs. the issue is though is that metacam isn't licensed for rabbits, so no actual studies on rabbits for metacam have been conducted, or not any research I can find. however given the risk in dogs & cats my vet & I agreed on yearly blood tests just to double check as they're not entirely sure on the side effects caused by long term usage in bunnies. bunnies are so different to dogs & cats that its hard to apply their findings to rabbits :(

however I (personally) look at it that I'd rather have a few happy years left with Luna over 8 years left of her in pain. for me the "risk" is well worth the benefits given that without it, she's a grumpy reclusive rabbit who looks rather miserable. for me its well worth it and I'd rather have her happy and have a few years left for her to pass due to the metacam, than to have many more painful years left.

that being said you might find your bunny can be placed onto a low management dose, so the effects if it would probably be rather small. Luna unfortunately is on a "higher" dose at 0.8ml a day, although I've known bunnies be on higher.

I am not sure if its frowned upon - but my vet also offered acupuncture for Luna. while we were trying to get her dose right and ease her up (she was very very stiff and a bit swollen) we had 3 acupuncture sessions, 1 a week. I can really say I did see an improvement instantly from the moment we got home. of course it could have been because of the metacam but I do really believe it helped loosen her up while the metacam did its job.

I hope you can figure something out x

27-03-2019, 07:57 PM
Thank you, actually you've just reminded me I had acupuncture on an old bunny I had with arthritis and spondylosis quite a few years ago. She was quite old and would fall asleep during the acupuncture :) I'll look into it again further down the line I think, hopefully I'll find a good glucosamine supplement for my current bunny, want to get in there early with it all. I said 4 but I think she's actually 3 (she's a rescue and I can't quite remember her birth year). Thank you for your help and I hope Luna is doing well, that's good to hear that potentially Metacam is fine long term with buns x

27-03-2019, 08:11 PM
My late bunny Elphie was arthritic in her last year or so. She started on metacam, which we split into a twice daily dose as the half-life (I believe) is 18 hours. When that wasn't enough we added liquid tramadol, which for her last 5 months or so made an extraordinary difference in her quality of life. She took that on the Oxbow Joint Support supplements which she adored - she refused the tramadol otherwise. Elphie never got to the highest dose of tramadol she could take; she let us know she had enough before then. She was however on her max dose of metacam prior to adding tramadol to her regimen. Tramadol is, however, a controlled drug so can take longer for a vet to process the order compared to other drugs.

One of my current vets isn't hugely keen on long-term use of metacam due to potential organ damage, but the other vet I see was comfortable with it for Elphie. I respect both their opinions, so yeah.

28-03-2019, 10:39 AM
I used it with a previous bun but it was 10 years ago. It was a cat one, possibly seraquin?

Angie B
28-03-2019, 01:41 PM
This is what we give to our rabbits. We started off on half a tablet each every day, but now they're on one full one each every day, and yes, we have found that they definitely work as Thumper suffers quite badly with her front right paw, but not so much since she's been on these. If the weather's really cold she still favours it, but generally speaking she's fine. Initially, we had to cut them up into smaller bits and mix them with their teatime pellets, but now they're used to them we give them separately at teatime, ensuring that they've each eaten their own, before leaving them to it. They're rock hard, but that's good for their teeth, and they soon make short work of them! Amazon stock them. I've only found them available from the USA, very reasonable price as it's free delivery. Apparently (according to another rabbit site I'm on) you can get them within the UK but with p&p added on it actually works out more expensive!


I forgot to say, our girls have been on these for about a year now, and are fast approaching their 8th birthdays, so started on them when they were about 7 years old.

28-03-2019, 02:36 PM
I can also recommend the oxbow tablets, I give them to my tilty bun, he doesn't have arthritis but due to his posture I use them hopefully as a preventative measure along with physio, but do have to break them up as they're pretty big. You can find them on ebay as well, I tend to buy them from hay experts as I buy other stuff from there regularly so the postage isn't as much of an issue. I once bought them from America and they took over a month to arrive so I decided to pay the extra couple of ús to get them from the UK.

28-03-2019, 04:31 PM
Thank you everyone for your replies! I'll check out the Seraquin - it says online it's a tablet, did your rabbit eat the tablets @Amy104?
Glad to hear everyone recommends the Oxbow tablets as I have some of those, I've found she only eats them if I break them up, probably because they're so hard. I just have to stop the others trying to steal them from her!

28-03-2019, 04:50 PM
I'm sure it was capsules that I broke open and sprinkled on the food - I'm so sorry it was so long ago I can't bee 100% certain Ive given you the correct product name but it was definately a cat one.

28-03-2019, 04:54 PM
No problem, thank you!

28-03-2019, 04:57 PM
Just found it, sorry it was Synoquin Cat.

28-03-2019, 05:02 PM
Thanks for checking :) Did you find it made a difference?

28-03-2019, 05:22 PM
Yes I did, but it was quite expensive. He was a very poorly rabbit for most of his life (lots of respitory issues) so we just did what we could to ensure he had a happy life.