My Dog Has Arthritis – What Can I Do To Help?

October 9, 2017

 

1. Joint Supplement (Dasuquin Advanced) – This is a Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplement with multiple addititives that aid the joints by slowing down cartilage deterioration and promoting cartilage production. Some of the additives incude: MSM (methylsulfonymethane), ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables) EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which all have anti-inflammatory properties, and Green tea extract, Boswellia serrata extract, and Curcumin, which all have antioxidant properties.

2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Welactin) – This is supplement that has natural anti-inflammatory properties that greatly benefit the joints as well as skin and coat, heart, and more.

3. Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a method of health care with roots in ancient China. The stimulation of nerve endings by the needles creates a set of responses in the body which are unique to acupuncture. Acupuncture prompts the production of neurochemicals called endorphins by the brain, and the release of hormones including cortisol by the pituitary and other glands. These substances are part of the body’s own defenses against pain and inflammation.

4. Cold Laser Therapy – Laser therapy works by stimulating cells to be more healthy and decreasing inflammation directly at the source of discomfort. Laser therapy can be very beneficial for chronic conditions.

5. Oral Medications – There are many prescription medications that can be used to manage the pain from arthritis and keep dogs comfortable.

a. NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs. This is a group of prescription medications made specifically to target discomfort and inflammation, similar to the way human medications work in humans. Using human medications in dogs, such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Naproxen is NOT recommended as they are generally not affective for relieving symptoms, but they also cause serious side effects, which can be fatal. Discussing which NSAID is best for your dog is best done with you veterinarian. Some of the most common options are: Rimadyl (Carprofen) or Metacam (Meloxicam).

b. Opiates – An opiate, specifically Tramadol, has been proven to be very helpful for pain management in arthritic dogs, espcially when given in conjuction with an NSAID such as Rimadyl (Carprofen). It works very differently from NSAIDs by managing pain, as opposed to inflammation. This medication can only be given for a short period.

c. Neutropathic Pain – There are also options to manage chronic pain from arthritis by a very different mechanism than opiates and NSAIDs. Medications such as Gabapentin and Amantadine can be very beneficial for nerve pain. These types of medications generally take time to build up in the body before results can be apreciated.

6. Injectable Medications – While there are a host of different injectable medications for managing arthritis in dogs, one that we recommend most frequently is a product called Adequan. Adequan works by inhibiting the enzymes that break down cartilage.

7. Weight Loss – When a dog is dealing with arthritis, whether in the hips, elbows, knees, or other joints, he/she will greatly benefit from being as lean as possible while still being healthy. The less additional weight the dog carries, the less stress the joints undertake, and so, the less pain he or she will have. Weight loss is not curative, but will greatly increase the quality of life for the dog.

8. Physical Therapy – Physical therapy is crucial in keeping dogs with joint disease and arthritis healthy. When the joints are not used, and the dog is sedentary, the more muscle the dog will lose and the more difficult activity will become. There are a multitude of benefits in keeping arthritic dogs active, and targeting the specific areas, which have arthritis, by doing physical therapy with the dog, is an excellent way to keep muscle tone up, joints moving, while not overdoing it. Dr. Amos is a certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner and can come up with a specific Physical Therapy program to suit the needs of your dog to best manage your dog’s arthritis.

9. Stem Cell Therapy – Visit VetStem.com to learn more.

If you suspect your dog has arthritis or if your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis, please call 540-776-0700 to schedule an appointment to discuss any or all of the above therapies.