Osteoarthritis or degenrative joint disease is a painful condition and can make your dog's life miserable, therefore the sooner you detect the signs of dog arthritis, the faster you can adopt measures to slow its progression and help save your dog from further pain. Here is a rundown on some of the symptoms that your dog may have athritis:
- Stiffness, lameness, or limping after rest
- Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain
- Inactivity and sleeping a lot more
- Relutance to walk, run or climb stairs
- Unusual urinating in the house
- Irritability and behavioural changes
- Depressed or withdrawn
Treatment of Canine Arthritis
Once you confirm that your dog has joint pain due to arthritis, you will need to know what you can do to help relieve the pain and minimize your pet's arthritic discomfort.
There are many ways to keep your dog's arthritis condition under control and to substantially improve the quality of your dog's life. Some treatment options available for canine arthritis include:
Light to moderate exercise is encouraged because it helps maintain your dog's muscle mass and perserves joint flexibilty. Swimming is an exccellent exercise that improves muscle mass without overstressing the joints. Overweight dogs should be encouraged to lose weight to delay the onset degenerative arthritis.
There are always conventional medications to treat arthritis and help relieve dog joint pain. The use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and their anti-inflammatory properties can help provide rapid relief for your dog's arthritis pain, but they do not repair or heal cartilage.
Caution: Never give your dog any human form of medication such as common household aspirin. If you are going to give your dog aspirin or steriods for arthritis pain, make sure you understand the possible side effects that may affect your dog.
Surgery is usually recommended as a last resort treatment for dogs with canine arthritis because the treatment is expensive and it may also cause even further pro-longed pain for your dog. Your veterinarian will only suggest surgery when all other possible non-surgical treatments are exhausted to relieve your dog’s pain. The types of surgery available include joint repair, fusion, hip replacement and arthroscopic surgery.
Alternative Supplements for Arthritis Pain Relief and Joint Health
Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin can be very helpful for dogs primarily where the joints are involved. Glucosamine is naturally present in animal bones and as a dietary supplement, it can help to promote new cartilage growth, relieve joints and muscle pain and improve joint mobility.
Acupuncture can give excellent results in pain management and may eliminate the requirement for medications.
Herbal medicine can give great benefits also as they are designed to treat the animal in a holistic manner. Be confident in your choice of herbal practitioner and ask your veterinarian for guidance if unsure.
Remember as a dog owner, there is much you can do to make a huge difference in the quality of your dog’s life to help your dog lead a pain free life especially if he/or she is suffering from joint problems like dog arthritis.
The Providence Veterinary Hospital Blog is a publication of Peter Herman, VMD, at the Providence Veterinary Hospital, 2400 Providence Ave. in Chester, PA. Contact Dr. Herman at 610-872-4000 or visit us at http://www.providencevet.com/.