What is UC-II®?
Exploring the Benefits of Our Dog Joint Supplements

Understanding Dog Joint Care

As a dog owner, you know the importance of keeping your dog happy and healthy. A common health issue in dogs is joint problems, especially as they age. Joint problems can cause pain, discomfort, and a reduction in mobility. However, there are ways you can help alleviate or prevent these issues and therefore improve your dog's joint health.

Many factors contribute to why dogs may develop joint issues, including genetics, age, breed, lifestyle and injury. Here are some factors to consider when looking into dog joint supplements and joint care:

  • Age and Wear-and-Tear:
    Dogs experience lots of wear and tear as they age, leading to joint issues like dog arthritis. Some wear and tear are preventable, like not allowing your dog to jump off furniture, which results in a high impact on the joints.
  • Breed Predisposition:
    Some dog breeds are more prone to joint issues due to genetics. Conditions like hip dysplasia in dogs are more common in large breeds. These conditions may result in joint instability, pain and arthritis in dogs at an earlier age. Even if your dog isn’t prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, it is important to look after their joint health, and preventative dog joint care is a great way to do that.
  • Obesity:
    Excessive weight puts additional strain on joints, which increases the likelihood of joint problems. Obesity can accelerate the breakdown of cartilage and lead to inflammation in the joints.
  • Injury:
    Injuries have the potential to cause long-term damage to your dog's joint, which may result in decreased flexibility and mobility even after the injury has healed.

Preventative healthcare, like dog joint supplements, is better as it focuses on preventing issues from occurring in the first place or slowing the onset of conditions. Allowing them to maintain optimal health and well-being, which in turn keeps them active and happy as they age.

For your dog's general well-being, it is essential to understand their joint health. Dog joint supplements, such as UC-II®, are a great way to help dog joint health.

Elderly Dog and visual of joints

What Causes Joint Issues in Dogs?

Regardless of how your dog develops joint issues, usually, the root cause is the same. Cartilage plays a vital role in joint health, so when it starts to degenerate, it can cause feelings of pain, stiffness, and decreased mobility.

Cartilage is tough and flexible connective tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint. Cartilage serves several critical functions, including shock absorption to reduce the impact during weight-bearing activities and smooth movement to allow the joints to glide over each for ease of movement.

When this cartilage is damaged, thinned or eroded, it leads to joint pain, inflammation and reduced mobility as the bones no longer have this connective tissue to cover the ends. While it is important to consider factors like weight management and preventative maintenance, some dog owners look towards dog joint supplements to prevent joint issues or help ease the pain.

What is UC-II®?

UC-II® is a clinically proven ingredient made of undenatured type II collagen derived from chicken sternum cartilage. There are several types of collagen, primarily categorised as types I, II and III. Type II is predominantly found in joint cartilage and provides mechanical strength, gliding, and cushioning properties to the joints. UC-II® works by reducing inflammation in the joints and promoting the production of new cartilage, which is important because as dog's age, their bodies produce less collagen leading to joint pain and stiffness.

The effects of UC-II from day 0 to 90The effects of UC-II from day 0 to 90

How does UC-II® work?

Unlike glucosamine for dogs or common combinations like glucosamine and chondroitin, UC-II® is a very different ingredient and works by oral tolerisation, meaning it modulates the body’s immune system to reduce inflammation in the joints. UC-II® travels to the small intestine and interacts with immune cells called Peyer's Patch, which allows UC-II® to cross the intestinal wall. Once crossed, T cells (Tregs) are activated, which releases anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds like TGF-beta and IL-10. Once these compounds are present in the joint cartilage, they help to reduce inflammation and promote the production of collagen and cartilage. In this way, UC-II® signals your body to rebuild and repair joint cartilage, which allows for smooth, pain-free movement.

Key Benefits of UC-II®

  • Significantly relieves pain caused by arthritis in dogs
  • Aids in reducing inflammation
  • Improves flexibility and mobility for adult and senior dogs
  • Keeps them agile and free from discomfort so they can continue to run, jump, climb stairs and engage in playful zoomies!

Summary of Studies that Investigate the Clinical Effectiveness of UC-II® in Dogs

There have been several studies that have shown UC-II® reduces arthritis clinical signs and a few of these have been in dogs. 

Summary of study looking at UC-II for dog arthritis

Study 1: Investigating the effectiveness and safety of UC-II as an treatment for arhritic dogs. 

Firstly, a clinical study investigated UC-II® as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in dogs with three different groups; placebo, group 1 receiving 1mg of UC-II® a day and group 2 receiving 10mg of UC-II® a day. Results showed there was a significant decline in overall pain in groups 1 and 2 compared to placebo within 90 days of taking a daily dose of UC-II®.

Overall, dogs in group 2 showed significantly better physical improvement and activity. This included less pain when rising from a sitting or lying position, less pain during limb manipulation, and experiences less lameness after physical movement.

These findings indicate that daily administration of UC-II to arthritic dogs reduces arthritis signs and symptoms and that UC-II is well tolerated because no adverse effects were found.

Study 2: Investigating the effectiveness and UC-II, compared to glucosamine and chondroitin, as an treatment for arhritic dogs. 

Another study investigated UC-II® as a treatment for arthritis in dogs compared to glucosamine and chondroitin or UC-II® plus glucosamine and chondroitin. Within 90 days, dogs either receiving UC-II® alone or in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin showed a significant reduction in pain. While glucosamine and chondroitin did alleviate pain, but not significantly.

They found UC-II® to be even more effective after 120 days. These findings suggest that UC-II® is significantly better at reducing overall pain, pain upon limb manipulation and exercise-associated lameness and outperforms other popular joint care ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin.

Following withdrawal of dog joint supplements, all dogs experienced a relapse of pain.

Summary of study looking at UC-II vs glucosamine & chondroitin for dog arthritis
Summary of study looking at UC-II for dog arthritis

Study 1: Study 2: Investigating the effectiveness and UC-II, compared to glucosamine and chondroitin, using a ground force plate. 

One limitation of these studies is that they relied on observations and questionnaires, which can result in some biases.

One study that wanted to investigate the effectiveness of UC-II® without human bias chose to measure any improvement of arthritis in dogs using a ground force plate as well as subjective observations. A ground force plate measures the pressure a dog applies to the ground when moving, like running and by calculating the pressure for each dog with the different treatments, researchers were able to determine different pain levels objectively. The treatments included placebo, UC-II® alone, glucosamine and chondroitin, or UC-II® in combination with glucosamine and chondroitin. They found dogs that only received UC-II® showed a significant change in force that would be associated with decreased arthritis-associated pain. While glucosamine and chondroitin showed a reduction in pain from observations, this was not seen objectively with a change in pressure from the ground force plate.

To summarise, studies show that UC-II® significantly reduces arthritis-related pain in dogs and may help improve their movement and mobility. These studies also show UC-II® outperforms the popular combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, which you find in most dog joint supplements.

As a way to improve joint care for dogs, findings suggest that the best physical improvements were seen after 90 days, suggesting that a prolonged treatment approach with this dog joint supplement may lead to the best and most enhanced results.