Researching the effects of nutriceuticals on joint disease in Huntaways

Joint diseases are very common in working farm dogs, with 1 in 4 having some joint abnormality on physical examination, and as many as 1 in 5 being lame to some degree. Most joint diseases are traumatic in origin, but hip dysplasia and lumbosacral disease in Huntaways are likely to have a significant heritable component.

Despite the high prevalence, most dogs with joint disease are not managed as well as they could be, with few treated with anti-inflammatories. Nick Cave and Naomi Cogger are using a population of affected farm dogs to study the effects of nutriceuticals such as green-lipped mussel extract (GLME) on signs of joint disease. They are just completing an 8 month, double-blinded, placebo controlled, cross-over trial of two GLME formulations in 30 working farm dogs with joint disease.

They are testing the use of collar-mounted accelerometers to monitor their activity during the day, and over-night, with sufficient consistency as to make a suitable model for testing such formulae in large long-term studies. To improve their investigation, they validated the accelerometers using motion capture video analysis of Huntaways running on a treadmill at different speeds. They are currently in the data analysis phase, and with a data set of over 30 million data points, it is difficult, and tests the current computing capacity, but Nick and Naomi hope to have results ready for publication in the next couple of months.

This project is the research component of the MSc of Samantha Bolton, and is funded by Lintbells Ltd (UK).