By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is perna?

Perna (extract brand names: Lyprinol® and Antinol®) is a supplement made from the green-lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus) and is used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for conditions like arthritis in cats, dogs, and horses. It has also been tried in humans to supplement allergic asthma treatment. Perna contains substances such as chondroitin, fatty acids, and micronutrients.

"Perna contains substances such as chondroitin, fatty acids, and micronutrients."

Dietary supplements are substances that can be used to supplement the diet, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, botanicals, enzymes, and probiotics. While many supplements are sold over the counter, they still contain ingredients that have biological effects that should be managed by your veterinarian. Follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

There are differences in how countries regulate supplements. In the United States, these substances are not as vigorously regulated by the FDA as other medications, which means they can be sold without the manufacturer proving their effectiveness, safety, and without a guarantee of consistent or accurately reported ingredients. In Canada, products that have been evaluated for quality, safety, and effectiveness by Health Canada and authorized for sale will have a license number on the label.

How effective is perna?

Limited studies in animals have been performed, but there is some evidence that perna works to treat arthritis by exerting anti-inflammatory effects.

How is perna given?

Perna is given by mouth in the form of a capsule, powder, or chewable tablet. Give with food.

What if I miss giving my pet the supplement?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

Studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding side effects is also limited. Side effects may include gastrointestinal effects such as nausea, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Skin rash and other allergic reactions are also possible but are uncommon.

Are there any risk factors for this supplement?

Studies are limited for this supplement and therefore information regarding risk factors is also limited. Do not use perna in pets that are allergic to it or other shellfish, or in pets that are pregnant and/or nursing. Perna should be used very cautiously in pets with liver disease, heart failure, or kidney failure.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

There are no drug interactions documented at this time; however, there is limited information available on drug interactions with perna. Vitamins, herbal therapies, and supplements have the potential to interact with each other, as well as with prescription and over the counter medications. It is important to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including all vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this supplement?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working.

How do I store perna?

In general, store this supplement in a cool place, protected from light and moisture. There are many formulations and manufacturers of perna, so always follow the specific storage instructions on the product label.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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