When Kate noticed her beloved Golden Retriever, Max, struggling to climb the stairs and limping after their daily walks, she couldn’t help but worry about his well-being. After a visit to the veterinarian, she learned that Max had developed arthritis, a condition that affects many dogs, particularly as they age. Determined to alleviate Max’s pain and improve his quality of life, Kate embarked on a journey to explore the various treatment options available for canine arthritis.
Arthritis in dogs is a common condition that can cause pain and reduced mobility. It is caused by the gradual wearing away of the cartilage between joints, leading to discomfort and pain. If left untreated, this may diminish mobility and cause lameness. Rheumatoid arthritis is much more common in pets over 10, and veterinarians identify it most frequently in seniors and cats.
Reducing pain, maintaining muscle mass, and preserving joint mobility should be the main goals of arthritis treatment. In addition, a combination of treatments is recommended to achieve the best results, such as medications, physical therapy, weight management, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
In this article, we’ll talk about proven alternative treatment options that could help ease the joint pain associated with your pet’s arthritis. With these treatments combined with traditional medicines, it is possible to get long-term relief from arthritis pain!
Exercise and Weight Management
In the treatment of canine arthritis, exercise is vital, but it should be moderate-impact to avoid further damaging. All kinds of exercise are permissible, including leash walking, controlled jogging, swimming, and underwater treadmills.
If your dog’s arthritis is not managed correctly, weight loss may be required; a weight-loss program should be implemented and closely monitored. Moderate daily exercise, such as short walks, can help dogs with arthritis.
Consult a certified small animal physical rehabilitation practitioner for therapeutic activities like passive stretching and range of motion exercises. Please speak to your veterinarian about the best exercise plan for your dog so that you can ensure that your pup gets the right amount of movement without putting too much strain on its joints.
Exercising with an arthritic dog requires patience and understanding, and it’s essential to start slowly and gradually increasing the intensity over time as your pup’s condition improves. Swimming is especially beneficial for dogs with arthritis because it is a low-impact form of exercise that can help to reduce pain and improve joint mobility.
Prescription medications are often used to treat the pain associated with arthritis. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are a commonly prescribed class of drugs for this purpose, including Rimadyl®, Etogesic®, Deramaxx®, and Metacam®. These medications work by reducing inflammation and relieving pain. However, they can also have adverse effects if not taken correctly or combined with other medicines. Therefore, veterinarians must decide if a dog is suitable for NSAIDs before prescribing them.
Non-NSAID painkillers may be used to treat arthritis discomfort in addition to NSAIDs. Tramadol, buprenorphine, fentanyl, amantadine, and gabapentin are among the drugs mentioned. The risk of side effects may be reduced while complete pain relief is achieved by combining various medications. Corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, for example, may be used in conjunction with or instead of NSAIDs.
Nutraceuticals are dietary supplements that can help build joint cartilage and reduce the effects of destructive enzymes in an osteoarthritic joint. Supplementation with nutraceuticals is recommended even after routine procedures that may result in osteoarthritis due to their lack of significant side effects.
Quality products explicitly formulated for joint dog health include Nutramax Dasuquin, Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d dry and wet dog food, Bayer’s Free Form, and Nutramax Welactin. These products contain MSM, glucosamine hydrochloride, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, and chondroitin sulfate, which can help support joint dog health.
It is important to note that nutraceuticals should be used early in the course of osteoarthritis to slow down its progression rather than expecting a quick or dramatic response. Additionally, it is always best to consult your veterinarian before adding oral supplements to your dog.
Medications, supplements, and specialized diets can benefit pets’ joint health. However, discussing these options with your veterinarian to ensure they are safe and effective for your pet’s specific condition is essential. Your veterinarian can also guide the correct dosage and frequency of any medications or supplements prescribed. With the right combination of treatments, you can help keep your pet’s joints healthy and reduce their discomfort from joint disease.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for humans’ and animals’ health and well-being. For example, studies have shown that they can reduce inflammation in arthritic joints, making them an excellent natural remedy for joint pain. EPA is the most effective omega-3 fatty acid for pets and can be found in salmon oil and typical diets. In addition, fish oil has been proven more effective than Glucosamine products at alleviating symptoms associated with arthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for overall health, as they help to regulate cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, improve brain function, and even boost immunity. In addition, they can also help to reduce inflammation throughout your pet’s body, which can lead to improved energy levels and better overall health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of any pet’s diet, as they provide essential nutrients that cannot be obtained from other sources. Adding fish or salmon oil to your pet’s diet is an easy way to ensure they get the omega-3 fatty acids they need for optimal health.
Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate Containing Agents
Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are two popular nutraceuticals used to treat joint pain and inflammation in dogs. These dietary supplements are not subject to the same stringent regulatory guidelines as pharmaceuticals, but research indicates beneficial effects from specific glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate-containing agents. Cosequin®, Dasuquin®, and Glycoflex III® are three such agents that have been studied for their potential to reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Dasuquin is particularly noteworthy in this regard, as it combines glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate ingredients with avocado-soya unsaponifiable, which can decrease inflammation and pain scores in human osteoarthritis trials.
This combination of ingredients is more effective than glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate in reducing osteoarthritis symptoms. At the same time, these nutraceuticals may not be a substitute for traditional medical treatments.
Adequan and Polyglycan
Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycans (PSGAGs) and Polyglycan SA are drugs used to treat acute joint cartilage injuries and arthritis in dogs and cats. They help to repair damaged cartilage by interfering with destructive pathways in the joint.
The treatment plan for these drugs involves a series of injections twice weekly for four weeks. This is done to determine if the patient responds well to the treatment. After that, we will implement a plan to continue the injections as needed if a response is seen.
The use of PSGAGs and Polyglycan SA is effective in treating joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with arthritis in dogs and cats. It can also help improve mobility and quality of life for animals suffering from these conditions. However, pet owners must consult their veterinarian before beginning any treatment plan involving PSGAGs or Polyglycan SA, as there may be potential side effects or interactions.
Using Complimentary Alternative Therapies in Pets
Complimentary alternative therapies are becoming increasingly popular for treating a variety of ailments in both humans and animals. These treatments can relieve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms without using traditional medications or surgery. For example, joint injections may include hyaluronic acid, steroids, PRP, and stem cells to reduce inflammation and improve joint function.
Alternative treatments such as low-level laser therapy, shockwave therapy, and acupuncture can also reduce pain and improve mobility. Veterinarians may also recommend physiotherapy, changes in diet, or cold laser therapy to help manage chronic conditions.
With the right combination of treatments tailored to each patient’s needs, complementary alternative therapies can provide effective relief from pain and discomfort while avoiding the risks associated with more invasive procedures.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a promising new treatment for canine joint problems, currently in its experimental phase and available in certain areas. MSCs are progenitor cells that can differentiate into different cell types, such as connective tissue, bone, and cartilage.
The effects of MSCs are primarily exerted through their secreted factors, including extracellular vesicles (EVs) and bioactive molecules such as chemokines, cytokines, and growth factors. Adipose tissue-derived MSCs (ADSCs) is the favored source of MSCs for clinical use in dogs due to the relative ease of accessibility and rapid rate of proliferation in culture.
Clinical trials involving MSCs in dogs with osteoarthritis have shown beneficial outcomes, with some studies demonstrating significant improvement in subjective clinical signs. In addition, studies utilizing objective outcome measurements such as force plate gait analysis have also been conducted, with results indicating improved mobility and reduced pain.
Surgical procedures may be suggested as a last resort if other medical and alternative treatments are unsuccessful. In addition, restorative surgeries can fix hereditary disfigurements and stabilize the joint and are often recommended for younger dogs that haven’t fully developed arthritis yet.
Treatment options for arthritis in dogs focus on relieving pain and promoting increased mobility and strength, with multiple treatment options often used simultaneously to reduce side effects.
Surgery may involve joint stabilization, removal of cartilage/bony chips, or joint replacement with a prosthetic joint. Fusion of the joint (arthrodesis) is an option for the hock and wrist, while the femoral head and neck osteotomy is an option for the hip joint.
I’d appreciate it if you could discuss the risks and benefits of any surgical procedure with your veterinarian before deciding whether surgery is right for your pet. With proper care and rehabilitation following surgery, many pets can return to their normal activities with improved quality of life.
Frequently Asked Questions
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