Dear Christopher Cat
My veterinarian recommended I give my cat supplements for his arthritis. She said I can purchase them at the pet supply store or on the Internet. How do I evaluate the quality of the products?
Unfortunately, supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or any other independent authority, so you’re on your own to determine which products contain consistent levels of active ingredients and are effective, safe and free of toxic contaminants.
To start, contact the manufacturers or search online for clinical studies conducted in pets. The most credible are studies published in peer-reviewed journals, that is, in scientific publications scrutinized by specialists in the field.
Disregard in vitro studies, which are conducted in test tubes, because they offer little evidence that the product is effective or safe in a living animal.
Ignore those glowing testimonials from “satisfied customers.” Testimonials don’t take the place of valid research but are often presented by companies unwilling to pay for product testing.
Check to see if the manufacturer is a member of the National Animal Supplement Council (www.nasc.cc), an indication that the company follows strict manufacturing, labeling and adverse reaction reporting guidelines.