Because of medical advancements and companion animal care, many dogs today are enjoying a long life expectancy. Unfortunately, this also means many dogs will deal with arthritis as they age. DJD (Degenerative joint disease) is the most common form of arthritis found in canines.
Many of the symptoms associated with arthritis come from the pain caused by cartilage wearing down over the joints. Arthritis is best addressed with a combination of treatments rather than just one.
Here are some of the best options for treatment of canine arthritis:
Exercise and Weight Management
Exercise is an important part of treating arthritis in dogs, but it should be low-impact to avoid causing further damage. Walking or even light jogging is an acceptable form of exercise for dogs with arthritis. Non-weight bearing exercise, like swimming, is a great way for dogs who experience pain to get exercise.
Weight management is another important part of keeping arthritis pain in check. If your dog is overweight, the excess fat hormones can cause pain to be worse. A weight loss regimen should be applied if necessary.
There are many supplements that have been shown to be effective for arthritis treatment in dogs. Some of these include glucosamine, MSM, and chrondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements can help reduce inflammation and repair joint tissues. Supplements are generally very safe, and are best used in conjunction with other forms of treatment.
There are many options when it comes to drug treatments for arthritis in dogs. Adequan injections are one of the most effective forms of pain relief, and they work by helping to repair cartilage damage. The downsides are that is tends to be expensive and consists of six injections over three weeks.
Steroids can be helpful in the treatment of arthritis in dogs. The downside of steroids is that they tend to have a breakdown effect on the body and should not be used over long periods of time. Over long periods, steroids can make the arthritis worse and cause other health problems.
NSAIDs are another option for arthritis treatment. However, NSAIDS that are intended for human use can have a negative effect on dogs and should be avoided. There are special NSAIDs intended for dogs, including Estogesic, Metacam, Rimadyl, and Deramaxx. These are much safer for dogs than aspirin or ibubrofin. However, you should still consult with your veterinarian before giving these to your dog because they can cause gastrointestinal problems.
There are also non- NSAID medications that can be used for the treatment of pain, including tramadol, bu prenorphine, and gabapentine. These drugs can be used together with NSAIDs to reduce pain. Using both together means we can lower the dosage of both.
All medications carry a risk of potential side effect. Always ask your vet before starting your dog on a new medication.
Some dogs may benefit from the healing properties of acupuncture and massage. These methods of therapy can be used in conjunction with other treatments.
Arthritis can be a painful experience for any dog, but there are many treatment options that can help your dog remain happy and healthy. It’s best to use multiple treatments at once to maximize their benefits.