Joint Protectors: Cartilage

Cartilage is your pet’s Joint Protector.
Each bony joint end is covered in a smooth, porcelain-like surface called joint or articular cartilage.

This smooth surface of articular cartilage allows smooth and easy gliding and rotation of the joint. Articular cartilage contains a high concentration of nerve fibers. These nerve fibers are so sensitive that even small changes in the viscosity (thickness or gooey-ness) of the joint fluid inside the joint can cause an achiness in the joint.

The nerve-rich cartilage is designed this way in order to protect the joints from damage.

Diagram of a joint
Diagram of a joint

Visualize your dog jumping an over a fallen log on his trails.
He jumps by launching his body into the air. He will depend on the joints in his front limbs to absorb the shock when he lands.
During the landing, his front limbs need to lock at his wrists and absorb the shock at the same time.

To absorb the concussion of landing, all the elements of the joint need to work synergistically (together toward a common goal). If the supporting soft tissue of muscles and tendons isn’t well balanced, the joint won’t be properly supported – the joint may be restricted or too loose in its movement.

The joint fluid (synovial fluid) inside the joint capsule acts as a shock absorber to the bone ends.
Synovial fluid is like a gooey, rich oil and allows the joint ends to run smoothly over one another. The fluid is high in hyaluronic acid and forms part of the main nourishment source of the cartilage matrix.

If the joint fluid is too thin, it will be less able to absorb the force of the landing causing the bone endings to bang together.
The sponginess of the articular cartilage can help absorb some of this stress, but it will also signal the brain that the bone ends have painfully come in contact with one another.
If the dog fails to respond to the pain, the bone ends can collide and cause damage to their cartilage. In the worst case scenario, fracture the bones themselves.

The Damage

With its limited potential for healing, damaged cartilage is replaced with an inferior type of cartilage called fibrocartilage that’s prone to chipping and breaking.
If the joint capsule becomes inflamed, hydrolyzing enzymes are released and disrupt the joint fluid by breaking down its proteins.
This loss of this nourishing and shock absorbing joint fluid weakens the cartilage even further. These injured and worn joints face a downward spiral of jarring, friction and pain.

The Rescue: Correct Exercise & Nutrients

Should you exercise a dog with hip dysplasia or suffers from arthritis?

Muscles surround the joints need to be strong and toned. These will support the joint and keep the joint fluid viscous. Toned muscles are achieved through consistent repetitive movement.

Getting up and moving around is the best thing to maintain joint health. However, incorrect activities such as jumping and fast directional changes should be avoided in animals with existing joint damage or inflammation. Low impact, strengthening exercises are the key to tone and strengthen muscles.

Getting The Goods – Nutritional Repair and Fluids

A great source of these specialized joint fluids is in the joints of other animals.
Correct raw diets containing ground or whole joint bones, may give them a good supply of joint protecting nutrients. Unfortunately most pet foods today don’t offer this.

Dogs eating a cooked diet or dogs with existing joint disease may benefit from reputable joint supplements.

We recommend adding Sashas Blend every time – rich in all the ingredients of cartilage, not only glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid, but the binding agents too.

Sashas Blend is registered as a medicine in Australasia through the APVMA and is registered with the South African Medical Control Council on the National Pharmaceutical Product Index. It is Veterinary Approved and University Tested and we guarantee that it does all we say it does.

Sashas Blend assists in not only replacing lost viscosity of joint fluid but also bolstering its production within the joint capsule. It is proven to repair cells within the joint capsule, improving joint cartilage and lubrication of the joints, respectively.

This type of protection is especially important for larger breeds, active dogs such as working dogs and young puppies.

Young puppies have softer cartilage and it is therefore important to avoid repetitive jarring activities such as going down stairs multiple times a day or jogging with them until their skeleton has fully grown. Visit our article on how playing with your puppy affects their joints.