Arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints caused by an unstable or deformed joint (such as hip dysplasia), or previous injury (such as a torn ligament in the knee). Arthritis causes wear and tear on the cartilage cushioning the joint, and is a painful, progressive condition.
Common symptoms of arthritis in dogs:
If you see any of the above signs, please call us for an appointment. Once arthritis has been diagnosed in your dog, the best medical treatment is a combination of several methods tailored to your pet.
Cats and Arthritis
Cats commonly develop arthritis in their senior years, but are very adept at hiding it. If you note the following signs, please call to make an appointment:
Management of Arthritis:
1. Weight reduction
The single most important method. By reducing weight, the amount of stress on the joints is reduced. Dogs with arthritis will experience a 50% improvement in their condition by maintaining a lean body mass.
Activity is important to maintain muscle mass to help support affected joints, and also to keep full range of motion of affected joints. But the type of activity should be altered in dogs with arthritis. Short frequent walks are better than long hikes, or runs. Swimming is the best activity, as allows movement without stress on the joints. Try to avoid stairs and big jumps if possible.
3. Joint Supplements
Multiple nutritional supplements have been shown to protect joints, and slow down the progression of arthritis. The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin protect cartilage. MSM is a natural and safe anti-inflammatory. ASU has more recently been shown to work together with glucosamine and chondroitin to increase effectiveness. There is a proprietary veterinary supplement that combines these supplements. In addition, EPA and DHA of fish oils actually turn down the gene that is one of the root causes of arthritis. Be aware that nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and thus over-the-counter products may not contain what they say.
4. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are very effective in reducing the inflammation, and thus pain, associated with arthritis. There are several choices approved for dogs. It is not recommended to give human medications because most of these (such as ibuprofen) are toxic to dogs. Aspirin has the most side effects in dogs, including platelet clotting (which can lead to serious bleeding or bruising), stomach ulcers, kidney, and liver side effects. The dog-approved NSAIDs are generally safe, but can have side effects. Thus bloodwork before starting an NSAID, and periodically thereafter is recommended to monitor for safety. Unfortunately, there are no NSAIDs approved for long term use in cats.
5. Polysulfated Glucosaminoglycan
PSGAG are a unique medication that has been clinically shown to reduce enzymes that damage arthritic joints, and increases joint fluid. This medication is very safe, and is injected into the muscle on a regular schedule. We often use this in dogs that do not tolerate NSAIDs, or in combination with other therapies. It is also safe to use in cats.
We tailor the above therapies to each individual patient.
To set up an appointment or for inquires, please call us at
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