Getting to Know Supplements: Natural Science Joint Support

Written by Oxbow

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February 11, 2021🞄

Author: Dr. Cayla Iske

Updated: March 22, 2024


The next supplement in our “Getting to Know Supplements” series is Natural Science Joint Support, a joint supplement for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small pets. This supplement was designed to support small pets with common skeletal issues, such as degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.

Over the decades, we have learned a lot about how to better care for small mammals. As a result, the average lifespans for these species have lengthened, allowing pet parents to spend more quality years with their companions.

Along with these longer lifespans comes health issues associated with aging. Issues with joint health are atop this list of age-related concerns for small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. There are also instances where younger animals may experience joint issues as a result of trauma or congenital defects, for example.

Whatever the source of a small mammal’s joint-related issues, if your pet is struggling with joint health, adding Natural Science Joint Support to your animal’s daily nutrition may be a great option to discuss with your trusted veterinarian.

The Importance of Joint Health for Rabbits & Small Pets

Joints are the connection points where bones meet. They allow the body to bend, accommodating mobility and movement. Joints are composed of bone, muscles, membranes, fluid, cartilage, and connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) and are designed to provide fluid movement and keep bones from coming in contact with each other.

A healthy joint is well lubricated by synovial fluids and contains healthy tissues (such as cartilage) to reduce friction during movement and structurally support the joint. Over time, cartilage wears down and degrades. This wear and degradation can lead to inflammation of the joint and hinder movement, not to mention cause a great deal of pain (this is generally referred to as arthritis).

Small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs depend on healthy joints for everyday function. Healthy joints allow small animals to move, play, eat, groom, and even use the litter box safely. As a pet parent, taking care of your pet’s joints is critical for their comfort and quality of life.


Guinea pigs eating Natural Science joint support supplement

The Role of Diet and Husbandry in Joint Health

Diet and husbandry play an integral role in joint health for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals.

Proper hydration helps maintain lubrication of joints and a proper diet can mitigate inflammation and obesity. Furthermore, appropriate bedding/flooring can alleviate unnecessary stress on joints, and regular exercise keeps joints active and moving to build strength and delay degeneration.

If and when small animals start to experience joint problems such as arthritis, however, specially formulated joint supplements for guinea pigs and other small exotics can be a great addition to the diet.

Causes of Joint Issues in Rabbits & Other Small Pets

As animals age, the daily wear and tear on joints leads to cartilage loss. This is a major cause of joint issues in small mammals and is one reason why joint issues are a common ailment in older animals.

Other factors that can contribute to joint issues at any age in rabbits and other small pets include:

  • Obesity
  • Previous injury affecting the musculoskeletal system
  • Trauma
  • Genetic disposition

Less common causes for joint issues can include infection or immune-mediated disease.


Rat in a home setting

Signs of Joint Issues in Rabbits & Other Small Pets

Symptoms of joint problems in small pets can manifest in a number of ways, and in some cases can complicate other health issues if left unaddressed. Stiff or painful joints can make regular activities difficult or cause noticeable changes in your pet’s behavior.

Common symptoms of joint problems in rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals can include:

  • Dirty hind end (urine, feces, or cecotropes)
  • Uneaten cecotropes
  • Unkempt haircoat, matted or tangled fur
  • Changes in urination or defecation patterns
  • Reduced appetite
  • Inactivity
  • Changes in behavior (aggression, disinterest in favored things, etc.)
  • Impaired mobility (limping, stiffness, difficulty getting in and out of litter tray, etc.)

Some of these symptoms stem directly from inflammation or degradation of the joints while others are secondary effects of impaired mobility or pain. Because of the pain masking tendencies of small mammals, you should consult your exotics veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms listed above (or even just minor changes in behaviors or patterns).

A full physical examination by your small mammal veterinarian, possibly along with x-rays or other diagnostics, can determine the cause of these symptoms and the best way to address them.


Ingredient Functionality

Natural Science Joint Support is specifically formulated to be nutritionally appropriate for small mammals and provides key natural ingredients to aid in joint maintenance or recovery.

Aging animals, those diagnosed with arthritis or degenerative joint disease, those recovering from post-surgical fractures, or any animal with acute or chronic musculoskeletal issues can benefit from Joint Support.

Ingredients in this supplement are targeted to reduce degeneration of joints as well as reduce swelling and inflammation that commonly cause pain in joints.

Glucosamine (Plant-based)GlucosamineAids in the prevention of cartilage degeneration and improved lubrication of joints
Flaxseed MealOmega Fatty AcidsAnti-inflammatory to reduce joint swelling
Brewer’s Dried YeastMannan Oligosaccharide (MOS)Acts as a prebiotic and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria for whole-body health
Turmeric PowderCurcumin, carotenoids, flavonoidsExerts anti-inflammatory properties and helps alleviate chronic pain
Ginger RootGingerolsAnti-inflammatory and antioxidant to reduce inflammation and pain in joints
 Polyphenols (such as resveratrol), saponinsExerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties
Docosa-hexaenoic Acid (DHA)Omega 3 fatty acidsAnti-inflammatory to reduce joint swelling and pain


Are Joint Supplements Appropriate for My Pet?

Small mammals of every species can experience joint issues. Oxbow’s Joint Support supplement was designed to support both herbivores and omnivores.

The following types of small animals can benefit from joint supplements to assist with joint problems:

  • Rabbits
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Chinchillas
  • Hamsters
  • Gerbils
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Other small exotic companion mammals

Before adding a supplement to your pets’ diet, you should always consult your veterinarian. If they indicate it is right for your pet, Natural Science Joint Support can be a great addition to a balanced diet for rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, mice, hamsters, and gerbils.


Rabbit eating Natural Science Joint Support

What is the Daily Feeding Recommendation for Natural Science Joint Support?

  • For herbivores such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, we recommend 1/2 to 2 tabs per day (depending on weight).
  • For omnivores, we recommend feeding 1/8 tablet daily for mice and dwarf hamsters to 1/4 tablet for larger species such as rats, gerbils, and Syrian hamsters.


Joint Support Supplement FAQs

Questions may arise when evaluating whether supplementation is right for your pet. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions Oxbow receives about Joint Support.

Can Joint Support be taken with Medication?

In consultation with your veterinarian, you should consider your pet’s health history and if Joint Support would be a good fit for their treatment plan. Medication your pet may be taking is also important to consider, as some medications may interact negatively with Natural Science Joint Support.

Is Joint Support Meant to be a Long-term or Short-term Supplement?

Oxbow’s Natural Science supplements can be added to your pets’ diet for short or long-term use and can be fed in combination with other Natural Science supplements.

Can my Pregnant, Nursing, or Young Small Animal Take Joint Support?

Joint Support is NOT intended for pregnant, nursing, young, or growing animals. It is of utmost importance that you consult with your veterinarian before offering Joint Support, especially if your little one belongs to one of these groups. A professional can help you determine the benefits and risks of offering Joint Support to your small pet during these life stages.

For more answers to the most common supplement questions, you can find some FAQs in our Natural Science supplement FAQ blog.


Where to Buy Natural Science Joint Support

Natural Science Joint Support can be found at many retailers or can be purchased through veterinary offices. To find a retailer near you, check out our store locator!