The value of the green-lipped mussel - Veterinary Practice
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The value of the green-lipped mussel

Ian Williams in this third in a series of articles from Royal Canin on the latest knowledge behind nutrients that can be of benefit to cats and dogs, looks at green-lipped mussels…

DESPITE their strong appearance,
joints can gradually become
sensitive with age, affecting a cat or
dog’s mobility, activity and

Joint issues are common in pets
and it is sometimes difficult for owners
to notice the small changes in mobility
when they occur. Although joint issues
can occur in animals of any age, they
are more common in middle-aged and
geriatric dogs,
affecting at
least one in
four dogs in

All sizes
of dog are at risk of
problems; however, large breed dogs
are more commonly affected when
compared to small and medium breed

Joint issues in cats have
traditionally been considered rare, but
awareness of these is now increasing
due to improved methods of
diagnosis. As with dogs, joint issues are
more commonly seen in middle-aged
and geriatric cats.

Maintaining a pet’s ideal weight and
feeding a suitable diet may help to
keep joints healthy for longer. In
addition to providing nutrients to help support the structure of the joints,
specific nutrients may help to
modulate healthy soft tissue responses
and minimise the effects of free
radicals on the joints.

A variety of nutrients, including
long-chain omega-3 fatty acids,
chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine
hydrochloride, antioxidants and green-
lipped mussel powder, are reported to
be beneficial for the nutritional
support of cats and dogs with joint
issues. Here we take a closer look at
green-lipped mussel.

The green-lipped mussel

Among some indigenous coastal
cultures, shell-fish supplements have been long used as a
traditional nutritional
support for joint health.

Interest has focused
on the potential benefits
of a nutritional
supplement prepared
from the New Zealand
green-lipped mussel,
Perna canaliculus.

The mussels
harvested along the coast
of New Zealand benefit
from a constantly
renewed supply of
marine nutrients brought
by the ocean current.

The mussels act as a sea-water
filter, which leads to the retention of a
large number of potentially beneficial

Green-lipped mussels are known to
contain a number of nutrients that
may be beneficial in supporting pets
with joint issues.

Most importantly, green-lipped
mussel has been shown to contain
omega-3 fatty acids, including
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and a
unique omega-3 fatty acid –
eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) – which
interacts in the body with both the
cyclooxygenase (COX) and
lipoxygenase pathways.

Green-lipped mussel also contains
glycosaminoglycans (chondroitin
sulphate), glutamine (a glycosaminoglycan precursor), vitamins
C and E and antioxidant
micronutrients (including zinc, copper
and selenium) that can be beneficial in
helping to maintain joint health. It is
thought that these nutrients act
synergistically to help support pets
with mobility issues.

Dietary modification plays an
important role in the support of
healthy mobility in veterinary practice.

Its main goals include providing
complete and balanced nutrition for
the individual patient and an
appropriate energy intake to help
maintain a lean body condition, as well
as providing cartilage precursors and
antioxidants to help support cats and
dogs with joint issues.
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