What Is Cosequin for Cats?


If you have noticed a change in the way your catwalks, like a limp, your four-legged friend might have arthritis. Cosequin for cats is a patented joint supplement that can help relieve the inflammation caused by arthritis. It is a nutritional supplement recommended by many veterinarians that helps promote good joint health in cats. In some cases, it can even be used to relieve bladder problems. But what exactly is Cosequin for cats? Let’s review this supplement.

Joint Pain in Cats

Like human beings, cats get their body movement and structure from their musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is made up of muscles and bones that are tied together by ligaments and tendons. The joints are the meeting points of two bones and usually contain cartilage, which covers the end of each bone at this juncture to protect it from the effects of friction caused by movement. As your feline friend ages, the cartilage protecting their bones begins to break down, resulting in painful friction between the bones at the juncture (joint) when moving. This degradation can be caused by an autoimmune disease, infection, aging, or injury and is called osteoarthritis. Cosequin is mainly made up of sodium chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride while some products in the line also contain additions like MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) and Omega-3. Generally, glucosamine can rebuild degraded cartilage and chondroitin can prevent further damage and inflammation. MSM performs a little bit of both functions.

Cosequin Prescriptions for Cats

Cosequin is manufactured by Nutramax Laboratories to help promote cartilage and joint health in cats. It is available in small capsules that you can mix into your cat’s food in appropriate dosages to provide inflammation relief. For palatability, the doses are often presented in chicken and tuna flavors. Generally, Cosequin does not require a prescription from a professional for use, but it is advisable to consult your vet either way before giving it to your cat. As a supplement, the medication is designed to alleviate pain. It can also be used to treat joint and cartilage pain in horses, which is why you should always get a prescription from your vet. The fact that this medication can be used to relieve pain in horses is a testament to its powerful pain-relieving properties. It is also a sign that you should be careful with dosages. While your cat will not take as much Cosequin as a horse, the dosage should match its weight for effectiveness. According to the advisory information provided by the manufacturer, you should give your cat one capsule of Cosequin with food if they weigh less than ten pounds. If they are heavier than ten pounds, two capsules with food is an appropriate dosage.

Main Ingredients in Cosequin

Many vets recommend Cosequin because besides being a pain-relieving supplement, it also provides nutritional benefits to your cat. As you might know, Cosequin is a brand name. The supplement is derived from the amino sugar glucosamine, which is prepared from the exoskeletons of crustaceans – lobsters, shrimp, crabs – or fermented grains. Essentially, Cosequin is made from two primary ingredients – sodium chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. The latter is a combination of glucosamine (the amino sugar) and hydrochloride, which is an acidic salt. The former is derived from the cartilage of animals, such as sharks and cows. It serves to supplement the cartilage lost by your cat. In addition to these two main ingredients, Cosequin contains the following additives:

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Manganese ascorbate
  • Gelatin
  • Magnesium stearate
  • FD&C Blue #3
  • FD&C Blue #1

How Does Glucosamine Work?

As mentioned, glucosamine promotes healthy cartilage and, consequently, prevents the pain caused in the joints by friction. Aging cats tend to lose glucosamine, which leads to cartilage deterioration. It is still unclear whether the glucosamine in supplements like Cosequin can fully replace natural glucosamine and effectively regrow cartilage, but the current results are positive. In an article for Veterinary Practice News, Dr. Narda Robinson of Colorado State University goes over the merits and demerits of supplementary glucosamine. She admits that she is not “ready to abandon a product that could help and likely not hurt.” She also dubbed glucosamine as “one of many options for multimodal analgesia for osteoarthritis patients…”

Does Cosequin Relieve Arthritis in Cats?

According to estimates, 3 out of every 10 cats suffer from arthritis, but only 7 percent of those affected are getting treatment. Cosequin is an effective treatment for arthritis pain because of its two main ingredients. Clinical studies show that glucosamine hydrochloride provides nutrients that help promote proper structure in cartilage. The manganese ascorbate encourages cartilage production, and chondroitin sulfate protects cartilage from enzymes that could destroy it as your cat grows older. Generally, vets will recommend that you give your cat a Cosequin dose once or twice a day to relieve arthritic pain. The supplement’s manufacturer also claims that it can treat feline inflammatory cystitis (FIC), but there is currently no proof of this.

Safety Level and Efficacy

The pet supplement industry is a large and growing market that was worth nearly $550 million in 2014. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that 20 percent of homes with cats give their pets nutritional dietary supplements. As the demand for these treatments continues to increase, it is only normal to want to know whether the available products – like Cosequin – are safe and effective. There are very few large-scale scientific studies supporting the efficacy of cat joint supplements. In fact, Cosequin is the only supplement with some backing from the scientific and veterinary community. According to Cailin Heinze, an assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University, some vets base their supplement recommendations on anecdotal evidence. This is one of the main reasons Cosequin is a reputable joint supplement brand. The treatment actually contains what the manufacturer claims it contains, and the ingredients have been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it has been shown to be safe for most cats. As Heinze puts it, “…if you’re using a high-quality product from a reputable source—a product that actually contains what the supplier says it contains—then the safety level is pretty high.”

Recommendations and Reviews

Like most products in the health and fitness industry, joint supplements for cats are plenty in the market. You will see flashy advertisements and marketing strategies promising to help relieve your cat’s joint pain in no time. The only real measure of quality in such a market is endorsements and recommendations from veterinary or medical institutions. Vets all over the United States recommend Cosequin for joint and bladder problems in cats and other animals. This means that you can trust the supplement to do what it is supposed to do. When you go online, previous and current customers also have the most positive things to say about Cosequin for Cats. Many cat owners say that the supplement has helped their catwalk and jump better. At the end of the day, Cosequin remains effective and trusted because of its main ingredient – glucosamine hydrochloride. Many studies have shown that this compound is effective in relieving joint pain in both animals and human beings. All the other ingredients bolster this effect even further.

Is Cosequin Safe for Cats?

Many pet parents use Cosequin for their cats to relieve joint pain. Cosequin’s popularity among vets and pet owners is likely due to the impeccable reputation Nutramax Laboratories has built for itself when it comes to research and quality products. Generally, the company is respected by experts because it observes safety and health protocols in creating all of its products, including Cosequin. So, is Cosequin safe for your cat? Technically, this will depend on the kind of safety you are looking for. Cosequin is a medically safe supplement and does not contain any ingredients that would typically harm a cat. However, cats are different – some cats have allergies – and this is a separate consideration. This is why you should always consult your vet before giving your cat Cosequin. Since supplements are not regulated using the same processes and standards as pharmaceuticals, their safety is best determined through peer reviews and tests by experienced vets. Vets in the US have already given Cosequin the go-ahead but your personal vet is in a better position to determine whether this supplement will be safe for your cat.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

Cosequin is a long-term treatment, so it is expected to take some time to show results. Fortunately, it is actually faster acting than other supplements of its kind and will produce positive changes in about four to six weeks. This is an average figure, and how long it takes for your feline friend to look and feel more pain-free will depend on several factors. Still, the effects will come pretty fast.

Possible Side Effects of Cosequin for Cats

While Cosequin is generally safe for cats, it can produce negative side effects in rare cases. Some cat owners have reported observing the following:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Refusing to play and hiding undersurfaces
  • Failing to make it to the bathroom on time
  • Frequent napping and other changes in sleeping patterns
  • Overcleaning themselves or refusing to groom
  • Nipping and biting more often
  • Being snappy, defensive, and aggressive

If you notice any of these signs after starting your cat on Cosequin, stop the dosage and consult your vet immediately to learn more.

Cosequin for Bladder Health

According to some vets, Cosequin is effective in treating bladder issues in cats. Nutramax Laboratories explains this stand through the fact that the bladder’s inner lining has a protective layer containing some compounds found in cartilage. Since chondroitin sulfate can protect cartilage from damage, it can prevent damage to the bladder’s lining, which is usually caused by seeping urine.

Giving Your Cat Cosequin

Some cats will take the Cosequin capsule when you feed it to them directly, but most cats are not that accommodating. The best way to deliver the capsule to your feline friend is to sprinkle it on top of their food first and, if they still don’t take it, mix it into their meal. That said, always consult your vet before introducing this or any supplement into your cat’s diet.

When Not to Use Cosequin for Your Cat

In a safety bloodwork study, scientists proved that Cosequin causes zero effects when consumed long-term by cats. The medication is generally safe, but, as we have mentioned, it is best to err on the side of caution and speak with your vet before feeding it to your cat. Sometimes, the arthritis is so advanced that treating it at home with a supplement will not help. Cosequin is a preventative medication but cannot be used to substitute medical treatment. Additionally, some cats could be allergic to some of the ingredients, leading to more problems.

Alternatives to Cosequin for Cats

No two supplements are the same, and this applied to glucosamine supplements. While Cosequin has gained the approval of many professionals and experts, not many other supplements in the market have been tested so widely. In fact, pet supplements are generally subject to inadequate research and regulation, which means cat owners should proceed with caution. When picking a supplement for your cat, you need to review the ingredients. You also need to consider that many brands will claim that their supplements contain ingredients that they actually do not. Your best bet is to rely on tested, veterinary-approved and recommended supplements like Cosequin. Never grab the first supplement you see on the shelves and feed it to your cat, even if it has been specifically marketed for pets. Besides not knowing whether the product is safe and effective, you also run the risk of giving your pet a supplement meant for humans. Many glucosamine supplements are made for humans and can relieve joint pain, but your body is very different from your cat’s. A good human supplement is not necessarily a good cure for your cat.


According to a study published in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, 8 in every ten supplements with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine on their labels don’t actually contain these ingredients. Cosequin does. Many veterinarians recommend Cosequin for cats as a way to maintain healthy cartilage and joints in feline animals. Overall, the supplement is safe and effective and is prepared from high-quality ingredients that have been scientifically proven to improve joint health.

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