© 2023 MJH Life Sciences™ and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.
Episode 67: Choosing trusted supplements
In this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Dr Adam Christman chats with Dr Janice Huntingford about the latest insights into selecting the best supplements for your patients, including the importance of recommending and utilizing products that have a substantial amount of science and research behind them. (Sponsored by Vetoquinol)
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Hey everyone, welcome back to The Vet Blast Podcast. This episode is brought to you by our friends from Vetoquinol. Thank you so much for sponsoring this podcast, because we are going to be talking about supplements too. Where do we begin and how do we navigate through this world? With us today is Dr. Janice Huntingford. How are you, my friend?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Hey, I'm doing well. And how [are] you doing Adam?
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, good to see! I'm ready to learn. I need to learn. Let me tell you because there's a lot of noise out in this space too. So, we got to make some choices. So, I need your help. To our listeners out there, Janice is a 1984 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. She is certified in chiropractic, acupuncture, rehabilitation, and pain management. That's fantastic. By the way, can we just stop for a moment and just chat about how amazing that is?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, I've done a lot of studying, that's for sure.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, you have, and I think there's such a huge uptake in that now more so than ever with pet owners interested in all those different modalities. Have you noticed that as well?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Oh, absolutely. There are so many owners who are interested in what I would call integrative medicine, or nutrition, [or] supplements. They're looking for natural ways to treat their pets rather than using drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, it's impressive. So, get a load of this everyone—to in our listeners—in 2015 she became a diplomat of the American College of Sports Medicine and rehabilitation, and in 2018 received her master's in traditional Chinese better medicine. So, she's a consultant for VIN on rehab, sports medicine, and chronic pain—and lectures internationally on all those topics that we just mentioned. She has [written] many book chapters, and she spends her time on the farm winery with her chef husband, Harold, her pugs, cats, and horses and a few adult children, and her beautiful new granddaughter Alina—is that how you say that great name?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Yeah, yeah, so she's the love of my life now my granddaughter Alina. So yeah, that's when in my spare time that's where I hang out…but not a lot of spare time these days.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I don't know how you do it with all this going on, too! Oh, my goodness. So you know let's chat a little bit about this with supplements because, you know, you're boarded, you understand that there's such a need and understanding about this. So how do you bring up supplement use when it comes to that with an example with pet parents?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, usually when they're coming in to see me and we like to take a full history, so we will ask them, is your dog on any supplements, herbs, chronic medication, anything like that? Do they have any chronic diseases? Is your dog a sporting dog? What is your goal for this dog? Those are the kinds of things—the questions that I would ask the pet parents. And many times—these dogs it's amazing—people are going on Amazon, they're going on the internet, they're buying all kinds of things. And, if [veterinary professionals] ask, "Are they on chronic medication?" Usually, [clients] say, “No, no, not chronic medication.” [But if veterinary professionals ask] "Well, what about herbs, nutritional supplements, special diets, dietary supplements?" Then [clients] are like, "Oh, yeah," and then there's usually quite a long list. It's really amazing. So, you as a veterinarian, you sort of just have to open up and say, "What are you doing?"
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right. What should veterinarians look for when choosing a supplement. And my second part to that is, do you think there's a disconnect, or [are] pet owners on the same page [as veterinarians], that we are looking for the same things in pet supplements or in supplements overall?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, as a veterinarian, it's a good idea to look for supplements that have some science behind them so that that's generally the first thing. The National Animal Supplement Council—the NASC—they have a seal for supplements that have been approved. But that said, there are not very many companies that have gone through with that. There are still some very good companies that have good products that don't have that. But you want, first of all, something that has some science behind it. If [the company] can connect you with their veterinary officer or their researcher as to, "What have you done with this?" [or] "Have you done any clinical trials?" [or] "Have you looked at this?" [or] "Are there any peer-reviewed papers that support the use of this particular supplement?" So, you want something that has science behind it, rather than you know, "Mary says this worked for her dog really well." I mean, all these testimonials are great, but it's nice if there's some science behind it too. So, science and outside lab confirmation of what is in the supplement is also a good thing because that proves that what's in it—what it says in it's on the label, is actually in it.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I like that outside lab supplement. That's a good one too. I always forget about that one sometimes. So, when is the right time to start these pets on supplements—like the age, breed, surgery—what's all involved with that?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, certain dogs I would like to start on supplements when they're puppies [especially] if I have breeds that I know are going to be prone to things like hip dysplasia, or if they're going to be sporting dogs, I like to start them on when they're young. When I start them on young, I use things like omega 3 fatty acids and undenatured collagen type 2 and that sort of stuff. So, that would be a young puppy that's maybe set to be sporting dog possibly, [or] could have hip dysplasia in its background. Then, of course, after surgery, always a good time so that we have joint healing. That is, there's an uptake with that, and definitely [with] geriatrics as they age. Once they're really over 5 for most dogs—and cats probably over 8—they really should be on some kind of a dietary supplement [and] when I'm talking about that, I'm talking about joint support. There are lots of other dietary supplements out there for other conditions but mostly we look at joint support.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: And elaborate a little bit too on the expectation, I can tell you as a veterinarian when we talked about supplements, I feel like sometimes pet parents feel like the results are gonna be instantaneous like we're going to see [the patients] results tomorrow you know? How do we set that expectation when we chat with pet owners?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, it's a good idea if you're going to recommend a supplement that you understand how the supplement works, and when to expect results. For example, if you're using something like an undenatured collagen type 2 it may take 3 to 4 weeks before you see something. Omega 3 fatty acids might take up to 8 weeks. So, it's as important as a veterinarian that you set yourself up for success and say, "Well research shows that this percentage of dogs improved by this amount at this time." Now that means you need to have looked at the research papers for that.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: And along those lines, another thing the question I always have is about dosing and administration you know sometimes it says you know, 3 chews a day, 1 chew—you know, how do we dose and administer correctly?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: So, you have to have an idea of what supplement you're using. Some of them will have as far as I'm concerned based on the literature gonna have the correct dosage. Sometimes they don't, and sometimes the dosage that's on the bottle is for one condition and you're treating another. A really good example of this is again omega 3 fatty acids—fish oils—people will look at the bottle and say, “Oh, 1200 milligrams,” but that's not 1200 milligrams of effective ingredient, you have to add the EPA and DHA together, which are the 2 active ingredients, to see what you have. Even the dose is going to be on a veterinary bottle, it may be too low for something like arthritis—what the dose may be on there would be a skin conditioning dose. So, I'm not skin conditioning, I'm looking at arthritis [so] I want to use the arthritis dose. It does require veterinarians to have a little bit more Continuing Education (CE) on how these things work.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Expand a little bit on; certain supplements have like a loading dose for it and then a maintenance dose. Is a crucial that we follow those recommendations?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: I would say absolutely. There are a number of supplements that do have a loading dose, and a lot of times you have to get the higher dose into the body because say, for example, it's incorporated into the cell membrane. It takes a long time for that to take place—4 to 6 weeks for example—for those types of supplements. And then what will happen is once you are at that level then you can back it off. So, if it does have a loading dose on the supplement, you really should follow that.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Excellent, no great good to know. And you know along those lines, while I have you, I have to get your input about CBD (Cannabidiol) too. You know, we know we get questions about the CBD there are so many different things that are out there. Give me a quick little synopsis of your recommendations when we are faced with that about CBD and pet owners, they're interested in it.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA,9:28: Well, you know it's good that you asked me because I'm Canadian and you know, we know all this stuff about CBD oil here in Canada. Anyway, I was actually involved in some CBD research, and it is an interest of mine. But here's a few things that you need to be very careful about. One—and this is where if the company that's producing the CBD has on file on their website, somewhere like that—an indication that they get it tested by an outside lab. That's super important in the CBD space because you want to know that what's in it; what it says on the label is what's in it.
There was a study that was put out by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and they were talking about the amount of CBD and THC in supplements, that when they tested them weren't there, but this is an issue. Some of the products would say, “100% CBD” and would have a huge amount of THC in [them]. So, there's a huge variation in what you can get with CBD products. So, you want to have a reputable company; you really want to go with companies that have had some science behind them. There was some work that was done out of Cornell with a CBD product, where they determined the dose for it. They did a safety and efficacy study, and it was [for] osteoarthritis. And that particular product, [is] a great, great product. They show what, you know, what's in it and they're bothering to do the research behind it. So, I think you're far better to go with a product that has science behind it, rather than, you know, ‘Uncle Joe CBD from the corner,’ probably not a great thing.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right? Oh, great advice, great advice. I understand that Vetoquinol has Flexadin Advanced, right? Talk to me a little bit about that.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: So Flexadin Advanced is I think one of the best supplements on the market because it contains something called undenatured collagen type 2—and undenatured collagen type 2 is a totally different type of supplement for osteoarthritis. It's made from undenatured, collagen type 2, which is basically chicken sternums. But what happens; you have to think about how arthritis works. The biggest problem is that when you have joint damage, you end up with damage to cartilage and the main component of that is undenatured collagen type 2, or UC2—we'll call it that but short. So, that gets released, and then the body makes an immune reaction against that. So, a lot of times, some of your pain of arthritis is from synovitis, an immune reaction to that particular molecule.
If you take undenatured collagen type 2 orally, what will happen is it gets absorbed in the intestinal tract, it's taken up by the gut-associated lymphoid tissue, it will have a response where it's like the immune tissue goes, "Oh, this is a normal component," and so you develop an oral tolerance. So, in your body, you're like, "Okay, I'm tolerant to UC2," then when you have problems with arthritis, when that collagen is released in the joints, the body doesn't have such a huge reaction to it. This is a totally different way of creating pain relief for these joints.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, that's incredible. Absolutely impressive. So I understand that we can find out more information at www.vetoquinolusa.com about their wonderful portfolio that they have as well, right? I think it's there as well.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Yes, that's there, and I think there's a link to the scientific papers. Very, very interesting. The science on this is great. It's a small amount that needs to be given on a daily basis. They have force-played evidence that this works to improve weight-bearing and dogs with arthritis and I say very impressive science behind it.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, I happen to read the study earlier this week. I think it's fantastic. And it's 1 chewy, is that correct? It's just 1?
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Yes. The funny thing is in the research project that they did, they use the same dose for like tiny dogs and big dogs, and it all worked the same. So, there's really only 1 chew depending on what it is.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, they really do love that. Well, Dr. Janice Huntingford, thank you so much for your expertise, and for all your knowledge. I think—to our listeners, I hope this cleared up some of the muddiness that could be out there when you're selecting these supplements, so thank you for joining us.
Janice Huntingford, DVM, DACVSMR, CVA, CVPP, CCRT, CAVCA: Well, thank you so much for having me, Adam.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Of course, and thank you to our friends at Vetoquinol. Thank you for all you do and for supporting today's podcast and to our listeners, thank you for tuning in! Please stay safe out there. Take care of those amazing fur kids out there and stay pawesome. Bye, everybody.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai