Can Adequan Make My Dog Worse? Should You Be Concerned?

It’s such a terrible feeling to see your dog suffering from lameness and joint pain. It may happen due to old age, surgery’s side effects, or horrific injuries.

Thus, many people are looking for treatments, and getting Adequan injections is one of them. However, some owners may wonder, Can Adequan make my dog worse?

The method is considered effective and can be used together with other therapies to improve the joint of your canines. Scroll down to see in detail what it is and how it can help your little friend!

What Is Adequan In Dogs? 

can adequan make my dog worse

Adequan is a well-known brand name for polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG).

PSGAG is a synthetic heparinoid included in this injectable medication to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. It’s widely used to treat animals like dogs or horses.

Why Do You Need It?

Canine osteoarthritis disease is quite commonly seen, including geriatric arthritis (for old dogs), spondylitis, traumatic joint injury, torn ligaments, and hip dysplasia.

It’s important to cure the root cause of the pain so your dogs can perform normal daily activities without difficulties. And Adequan is the solution you need.

The injectable disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) is proven to effectively reduce lameness and has been approved by the FDA to manage osteoarthritis in dogs.

Together with physical therapy, injecting PSGAG helps with degenerative joint disease. It’s known as a proactive treatment to cure not only the clinical signs but also the sickness. 

If your dog has any of the symptoms below, consult with the vet for the use of this DMOAD:

  • Struggle to get up
  • Hesitate to go down or upstairs
  • Signs of limp 
  • No interest or decreased activities

Besides being helpful for dogs with arthritis, the drug is also recommended for elbow and hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, or torn ACL.

It assists in inflammation relief, joint lubricant enhancement, and cartilage building blocks reproduction.

How Does Adequan Work? 

In general, Adequan for dogs may help in the following way:

  • Protect the joints from further degradation by binding the cartilage’s components.
  • Alleviate inflammation and pain, and restore balance by preventing inflammatory mediators and degradative enzymes (those that break down the collagen and HA and create a block of cartilage) releases. 
  • Block the synthesis of a hormone called PGE2 (prostaglandin E2 ) that creates the loss of the cartilage’s molecules.

This hormone may also cause pain and lameness in your pet, so blocking it may help with your dog’s painful experience.

  • Stimulate the cartilage components’ activities, such as producing proteoglycans, collagen, and HA.
  • Improve the hyaluronic acid (HA) concentration in the synovial fluid. Thus, maintain the viscous and lubricating nature of the fluid and renew the joint mobility.
  • Limit the proteins’ levels in the synovial fluid, thus, reducing inflammation.

This DMOAD works better when combined with body weight control, exercises, joint supplement, and other adjunct therapies, such as physical therapy, laser therapy, hydrotherapy, and heat or ice therapy.

Still, can Adequan make a dog sick? The answer is right below!

Can Adequan Make My Dog Worse? 

adequan made my dog worse

Though there are some mild side effects, Adequan will not make your dog worse, but it’s reported to make dramatic changes in your canine’s daily movements and activities after 2 to 3 times injections.

Usually, you can see a big improvement within 6 months, depending on the health condition and level of osteoarthritis.

Is Adequan Safe For Dogs?

Generally, the formula is FDA-approved, meaning it’s safe for your pet with the suggested dose.

However, there are cases in which you need to use the medication with care or, better, not use it (I will mention it a little bit later).

So, you should ask your veterinarian and explain your dog’s situation before starting the injection.

What Are Adequan Canine Side Effects?

What are the negative side effects of Adequan? The effects are uncommon and mild when using the medication. The most reported one is swelling and pain at the injection site.

Besides, your pet may experience appetite loss or diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by different reasons, such as diarrhea after Heartguard.

However, the situation with Adequan is rare, and your dog can recover by itself without canceling the next injections.

Vomiting is another uncommon side effect. But if you see your dog vomiting stones, it can indicate something else.

You still should use Adequan with caution in dogs. Some canines may have bleeding disorders, causing the blood difficult to stop after injections.

Thus, dogs with known or suspected bleeding disorders should not take the medication.

Discuss with the vet about Adequan injections for dogs’ side effects you see happening with yours.

Negative side effects, such as excess bleeding, are rare but should not be underestimated. Some dogs may even be unable to tolerate the drug.

Warnings And Precautions

As mentioned above, it’s possible to have Adequan for dogs with side effects.

Besides, you also should take into account that sometimes the drug is not the right choice for your pet. For example, when your dog is hypersensitive to PSGAG.

In addition, if your dogs have hepatic or renal impairment, using PSGAG should be considered, as in this case, the kidneys may not be able to excrete the medicine out of the body.

Dogs with liver disease also have problems with blood clotting, so your vet should avoid prescribing the drug, too.

DMOAD has no restriction in use for canines’ age or breed. However, there’s no concrete conclusion of its safety for pregnant, lactating, and breeding dogs.

Thus, talk to your vet and evaluate the benefits and risks of the injection according to your dog’s situation.

Combining the drug with other medications, such as steroids or NSAIDs, is usually safe.

Yet, I advise you to tell the vet what treatment or courses your pet is taking to make sure they don’t work against each other and create bad results for your furry friend.

How To Use Adequan For Dogs? 

Can Adequan make a dog sick

The Best Time To Start The Treatment

The drug works most effectively if applied when arthritis just starts. In this first stage, joint degeneration is reported to slow down with the use of Adequan.

Although the progression is slower with the medication and some pains are relieved, combining it with other treatments, such as exercises, acupuncture, joint supplements, NSAIDs, and herbal remedies, is better.

Using Method

Adequan Canine is not for oral feeding. The medication is applied through injection. The vet will inject the formulation into the muscle (intramuscular) of the dogs.

The procedure can happen in the clinic after the prescription. However, go for a service booking if you wish to do it at home.

You can purchase the drug by yourself with a valid prescription from your veterinarian.

Syringes and needles are also needed for home procedures (and require a prescription to buy in some cases as well)


The dose of the injection will depend on the canine weight. The average amount is 0.02 milligrams per pound of body weight.

The larger the breed of dogs, the more volume of injection. It’s also why the method can be expensive if you have a giant breed.

A vet nurse will make the injections for your dogs two times per week for a maximum of 4 weeks. Then, it will be 8 times in total.

The gaps between each time are quite close to maintain the level of PSGAG in the joints for a long time.

If your pet is in pain, more injections may be needed. The maintenance schedule can be from once per week to once per month.

How long can a dog use Adequan? The treatment also can last for a long term if needed, and it’s safe for your dogs. Your vet will see what schedule is best for your little friend.

The injection’s location can be different each time to avoid repeated pain and inflammation in one specific area.

For example, the vet may alter between the right and left hind limbs for each injection.

Time For Adequan To Start Working

It will take around 30 minutes after the injection for the medication to start working. The drug will reach the joints within 2 hours and stay in the synovial fluid and cartilage.

How do I know if Adequan is working? After the first 8-week procedure, most canines will improve on the maintenance weeks.

To identify your dog’s situation, whether he needs another injection, watch out for his mobility and pain symptoms.

The Bottom Lines

Your senior dog may not be able to move around like before, or your middle-aged or young pet is suffering from the symptoms of joint degeneration, requiring treatment.

And the most common one is injecting Adequan.

Since any medication has some side effects, it may make the question, Can Adequan make my dog worse?, come across your mind.

Though it does cause some discomfort for your little friend after the injection, in most cases, the medication won’t make your dog worse.

Always consult with a vet to confirm this injectable disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug is the right choice for your canine friend.


Photo of author
Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment