Is there any adverse effects of giving my cat a supplement containing glucosamine with chondroitin?

While there are generally no side effects with these supplements—which are considered to be natural—you do need to keep in mind that nutritional supplements are not regulated by the U.S Food and Drug Administration.This means that the purity, potency and even the ingredients in glucosamine supplements can vary dramatically among brands.

While you shouldn’t base you choice strictly on price, as a rule, the less-expensive supplements are either not as pure, or may contain lower doses of the active ingredients. Buy only top-quality supplements from reputable manufacturers, because products of lesser purity are also less effective. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation.

Your veterinarian will also give you the correct dosages for your particular pet’s condition and will advise you of any potential adverse reactions with other medications or supplements that she is taking—so please be sure to report everything your cat is currently taking.

If you give a supplement to your cat, look for any possible signs of an allergic reaction. That possibility increases if you are using a supplement that includes other items, such as vitamins, minerals, MSM or fish oil. It’s also important to keep in mind that glucosamine may be derived from shellfish—so if your cat already has an allergy to that item, she’ll most likely be allergic to the glucosamine.

Of course, the amount of allergic reaction is directly proportionate to the amount of dosage so sometimes just decreasing it will help.

If you start to notice things like rashness, redness, itchiness, sneezing or any gastrointestinal issues, discontinue use immediately and check with your veterinarian. Other warning signs to be on the look out for:

• Vomiting. Sometimes your cat will vomit, even if she’s not allergic. This means that her gag reflex is going off, so discontinue use of the pill form and try a liquid supplement.

• Blood sugar. It’s also important to note, especially if your cat is diabetic, that blood sugar levels should be monitored, since some studies have pointed that it could possibly interfere with insulin resistance.

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