"IMG_1632" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: NathanF (Nathan Forget) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Cartrophen is a medication designed strictly for veterinary use. It is used as treatment for osteoarthritis in the joints of canines and has been known to relieve pain and increase pain-free range of movement. This medication is available by injection only. A trained professional should be consulted before beginning a Cartrophen regiment. The use of Cartrophen has been associated with rare cases of side effects.


This medication is a semisynthetic polysulphated polysaccharide that has anti-inflammatory as well as anti-arthritic chondroprotective properties. According to Drugs.com the Veterinary Edition, Cartrophen “stimulates chondrocytes to synthesize cartilage matrix, stimulates synoviocyte biosynthesis of hyaluronic acid as well as inhibits enzymes implicated in the degradation of cartilage matrix components and in the release of inflammatory mediators.” The medication also causes anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of arachidonic acid metabolism.

Side Effects

After the initial injection, pet owners may notice that, for a day or so, their pet may be a little quieter than usual. Throughout clinical trials, there were only two cases of abdominal bleeding, two vomiting cases and one case of diarrhea. If a canine that is on Cartrophen experiences any of these side effects, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.


An increase in dosage can result in exacerbation of stiffness and discomfort. This medication is not recommended for use in dogs that have clotting defects, traumatic hemorrhage, thrombocytopenia, infection or abdominal cancer. The Cartrophen treatment plan should be followed through to the last injection, even if results are not noticed immediately after the first or second injection.


A proper dosing schedule for Cartrophen should be designed by a veterinarian. Cartrophen is manufactured in 10 mL multidose vials. Traditionally, a canine should receive 1 mL of the medication per 33 kg of their body weight. There are usually four injections in the treatment that are given at every five to seven day interval.


Cartrophen is a pale yellow, sterile liquid solution. Contained in each mL of Cartrophen are 100 mg of Pentosan Polysulphate Sodium, .01 mL of Benzyl Alcohol used as a preservative, 2.2 mg of Sodium Phosphate and 6.8 mg of Sodium Acid Phosphate both acting as buffers. A capsule form of Cartrophen is available in Australia and New Zealand.