Senior Dogs with Arthritis - Tips on How to Help Sooth Pains With severe cartilage thinning, the normal joint space narrows and the bone beneath the ( e.g., has a dog been diagnosed early on with hip or other joint abnormalities?). Arthritis can be as uncomfortable for our dogs as it is in humans – but there are ways But to investigate properly they usually suggest further tests (e.g. x-rays), . Old age arthritis (or osteoarthritis) is very common in both humans and dogs, and In order to accurately diagnose your dog's condition, a general anaesthetic.
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While a warm bed often helps the joints feel better, choose a pet-safe warming pad and be sure to place a towel or blanket between the pad and your dog's skin and use a low setting to reduce the risk of accidental burns. Massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy can also be helpful for some pets. Ask your veterinarian about drugs that can alleviate some of the signs of arthritis.
These drugs reduce inflammation and pain. Do not give your dog human arthritis medications unless your veterinarian has directed you to do so. Some owners are concerned about side effects of NSAIDs in dogs, and it's true that some dogs develop problems, including vomiting and appetite loss, while on these medications. This is why they should only be taken under your veterinarian's supervision, possibly with blood testing before and throughout the course of treatment, to help monitor for potential drug complications.
If such effects are seen, your veterinarian can try another drug. Arthritis is a painful condition, so it's not fair to the dog to withhold medication out of fear of adverse effects. Some products modify the joint fluid and help protect joint cartilage, but do not necessarily provide pain relief. Other medications provide pain relief alone without having an anti-inflammatory effect , and other medications target arthritis-asociated nerve pain.
Ask your vet about the best options for your dog. Supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, may improve the condition of joint cartilage and fluid. Glucosamine promotes the synthesis of collagen and some other joint components. Chondroitin sulfate helps to shield cartilage from destructive enzymes. Other popular supplements include perna caniculus green-lipped mussel and Omega 3 fish oil.
While these supplements are not technically "drugs", they do benefit some pets. But they are not without their own potential side effects, so be sure to discuss with your veterinarian whether these supplements might help your dog.
Some dog foods, especially prescription brands available from your veterinarian, include supplements and other components that may help improve joint function. Arthritis can be a subtle disease. The signs are easily missed if you don't know what to look for. Massage therapy can also be very beneficial, and is something you can learn to do yourself at home. If acupuncture helps your dog, you may want to consider gold bead implants, which are a form of permanent acupuncture. Warmth can help reduce arthritis pain.
Applying a heat pack creates vasodilation and increases nutrient and oxygen delivery to tissues, which aids in the repair process of a dog's joints. Heat helps the muscles relax, will soothe your dog, and can improve your dog's range of motion. Apply a hot pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time at times when your dog is stiff or after any swelling has gone down.
Use hot packs before going on walks to loosen your dog's gait and help him move. Equally helpful are cold packs, which you should use on your dog when his joints are so inflamed you can feel heat radiating from them, or when if he suffers from arthritic muscle spasms. Cold packs decrease swelling and inflammation and numb the pain from arthritis.
For instructions on making your own cold or hot packs, click here. Thick, orthopedic beds that insulate your dog from the cold floor or ground as well as cushioning the joints provide a lot of comfort. You'd be surprised at what a difference a good, supportive dog bed can make when dealing with arthritis.
If you are considering a heated dog bed, just be sure the cords cannot be chewed. To check out other devices designed to help disabled dogs, " Orthopedic Equipment for Dogs Designed for Increased Mobility and Extra Support ," is a good place to get started. One more alternative treatment for arthritis in dogs is electric shock wave therapy ESWT , which still remains a largely experimental medical treatment but which has been shown to relieve the symtoms of a large group of canine conditions.
Researchers believe that ESWT stimulates the body's own resources to speed healing, including increasing vascularization blood supply to the area being treated. Note that shock waves do not slow the progression of osteoarthritis in dogs, but rather reduce the pain that comes with it.
Click here to read the full report on ESWT for dogs. The most common method of treating canine arthritis is the use of nutraceutical supplements called glycosaminoglycans GAGs , also known as mucopolysaccharides. These include glucosamine both the sulfate and the HCl forms and chondroitin sulfate, from sources such as chitin the shells of shellfish , green-lipped mussel perna canaliculus , and cartilage.
Also included in this category are the injectable forms sold under the brand names Adequan in the U. Although GAGs are usually the go-to treatment for arthritis in dogs, it is important to fully understand how these supplements work, and how to properly administer them to dogs.
GAGs may also have some preventative effect on arthritis, though this is speculative. Always start with high doses so that you will be able to tell whether or not your dog responds. If you see improvement, you can then reduce the dosage to see if the improvement can be maintained at a lower dose.
Different dogs respond differently to the various supplements. You can also use products made for people that contain ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and green-lipped mussel.
The use of manganese in the supplement may help with absorption. Injectable GAGs may help even more than the oral forms, and may work even when oral supplements do not. You should continue to use the oral supplements as well. It is interesting to note that the label instructions for Adequan say that it must be injected IM intramuscularly , while Cartrophen is injected sub-q subcutaneously, which is less painful and easier to do at home.
Many vets believe that Adequan works just as well when injected sub-q as IM, and I have heard reports from people who have used this method effectively. A related product is called hy-aluronic acid. It has been used with horses for many years, and more recently with dogs. In the past, it had to be injected into the joint under anesthesia in order to be effective, but newer oral forms have been developed that also work.
A lean dog will experience less strain on his arthritic joints, especially if he's a large breed. Eventually, no matter what you do, your dog may require treatment for chronic pain. There is one more nutraceutical that can help with this: In humans, very high doses may cause numbness, tingling, and other signs of nerve damage, so be on the watch for any signs that your dog may be experiencing these if using such high doses. It takes time for DLPA to begin to work, so it must be used continuously rather than just as needed.
They are available in mg and mg capsules. Kay Jennings, who lives with three dogs in Bristol, England, has a young German Shepherd Dog who began limping as a puppy, and was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. Jennings also has a working sheepdog who required higher doses initially. I found a starting dose of any less than 1, mg made no difference to her even after a couple of weeks. Once we hit the right dose it worked within three days, and after a few weeks I could reduce to a lower level mg a day that still provided relief.
Polly is now 14, and doing better than she has for some time. Kiri, my Border Collie, has recently at the age of 11! Several over-the-counter painkillers are safe for dogs to use, as well as some prescription medications. NSAIDs and the synthetic opioid, Tramadol, are just two of the options available to dogs who suffer from arthritis pain, and they are discussed below.
For a complete overview of painkillers prescribed to dogs with arthritis, read the article " Prescription Drugs for Dogs' Arthritis Pain ". This is due to their potential for harmful side effects, which include not only gastric ulceration but also liver and kidney failure, leading to death in some cases, sometimes after only one or two doses.
While there is no doubt that these drugs can be dangerous, they do have their place in maintaining quality of life when nothing else works. Natural anti-inflammatories can do a great deal to help, but in the end, they are not as powerful as drugs. Gunner, an year-old rottweiler, has suffered from arthritis since the age of two.
Fish oil and yucca kept him sound until a couple of years ago; now he also receives tramadol for pain. There are precautions you can take to make the use of NSAIDs safer, though you cannot eliminate their risk. Second, you should always give NSAIDs with food, never on an empty stomach, to help prevent the gastric ulceration that is a very common side effect. Third, never combine NSAIDs with each other, or with prednisone, which greatly increases the chance of ulcers and other dangerous side effects.
Fourth, discontinue immediately and contact your vet at the first sign of any problem, which may include lethargy, lack of appetite, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, jaundice yellowing of the whites of the eyes , increased drinking and urination, or any behavioral changes such as aggression, circling, or ataxia loss of balance or coordination.
If possible, wait at least a week in between, particularly if switching from one of the non-COX selective products, such as aspirin, to one of the newer, COX-2 selective drugs, such as Deramaxx.
Anecdotal reports indicate that Rimadyl and Deramaxx appear more likely to cause serious problems when first started than other NSAIDs. Be particularly watchful if you use either of these drugs, or ask your vet for another option. There is also a drug you can give to help reduce the chance of gastric ulcers, called Cytotec misoprostol. This is a human drug that can also be used for dogs.
Another prescription medication that can be helpful is sucralfate, which is used to heal ulcers. Sucralfate interferes with the absorption of all medications, so it must be given at least two hours before or after you give other meds. When drugs are needed, ask your vet about using tramadol Ultram , a synthetic opioid that provides arthritis relief for dogs without sedation or addiction and is safer than NSAIDs.
Tramadol can be used in place of NSAIDs, though it is mostly for pain and has limited anti-inflammatory effect. Tramadol can be given continuously or used on an as-needed basis. It is less likely to create dependence than narcotics, but you should still wean off slowly rather than discontinuing abruptly if used long-term. Tramadol can cause constipation; if this is a problem, you can give your dog a stool softener to help. He was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia at age two, and originally put on Deramaxx as needed, but was later switched to fish oil and yucca, which helped until a couple of years ago, when he became lame and needed something more to control his pain.
Jones is pleased with how well tramadol has worked for Gunner. He still plays with our younger Rottie, and with his indestructible ball regularly. On days that he overdoes it, I give him a little extra tramadol. Dogs should not take Ultracet, a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen Tylenol , which can be dangerous for dogs. Most antidepressants, such as Elavil amitriptyline and Prozac fluoxetine , offer some arthritis pain relief to dogs.
Be careful about combining these drugs with Tramadol. Amantadine is an analgesic for dogs that offers little in the way of pain control itself, but helps potentiate increase the effectiveness of other drugs used to control pain. Amantadine for dogs is inexpensive and can be used concurrently with Tramadol, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, gabapentin, and opioids. Neurontin gapabentin is an anti-convulsant medication also used to treat chronic pain. It can be combined with other medications, but is expensive.
When pain cannot be controlled in any other way, narcotics may be used. Vicodin a combination of hydrocodone and acetominophen is sometimes used, though acetominophen can cause liver failure in some dogs, and should not be combined with NSAIDs due to the danger of toxicity from acetominophen. Oxycodone or a fentanyl Duragesic patch can be used, but these are heavy narcotics, and are best used only for short periods, though even that may make a big difference.
All narcotics are addictive, so they should never be used every day. Lastly, there is some possibility that doxycycline may be helpful. This may be due to the fact that joint infection is common with arthritis, or because it has some anti-inflammatory effect of its own.
There are an endless number of supplements and therapies that claim to help with arthritis, but the ones noted here are those that, in my experience, have the best records of success.
At age 15, Piglet is on a grain-free raw diet. I give her Metacam, and one dose of tramadol daily to help with walks.
She is also on sertraline Zoloft for anxiety, which may help with pain as well. This combination of natural arthritis treatment and conventional treatment has kept my dog, Piglet, going for years longer than I thought she would - longer even than I dared hope.
I am delighted to oblige. Mary Straus does research on canine health and nutrition topics as an avocation. She is the owner of DogAware. People need to understand that there are serious side effects to the use of this drug. Many dogs experience agitation, anxiety, restlessness. For many, these symptoms go away after a short period.
But for some, they do not. Meloxicam was not fully helping with the pain, so we added amantadine. Weeks later, he experiencing severe anxiety, excessive whining and whimpering, roaming, restlessness - and those symptoms are not abating.
I have taken him off the drug my vet advised I do not have to taper off, but I can find no information one way or another. It's been 2 days and he is still agitated. I've begun giving gabapentin - which will hopefully also help resolve some of the agitation. In human medicine, it is indicated that this drug may be contraindicated for persons with mental disorders. Many older dogs begin to develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. I'm hoping this drug did not do irreversible damage to my dog's condition.
I just want others to be aware of this potential risk. Kris CVT December 6, I was prescribed tramacet and arcoxia for 8 months but had to stop them due to bad effects. The treatment worked incredibly for my arthritis condition. Finally, after several tests and an expensive MRI, I was diagnosed. I was put on doxycycline and had a severe reaction to that, so then they put me on a different medication. I still had bouts of pain and fatigue that last weeks. I was seeking something to help regain my life to be able to do things for myself.
Supplements are very essential for treatment of dogs from various health issues. I have been using supplement like pet bounce for my 8 years old dog who was suffering from arthritis. Book First Walk Free! Arthritis is one of the most common conditions seen in middle-aged to senior pets. While younger dogs can also develop arthritis, the most common cases are older pets. Arthritis can have an impact on your dog's life, but thankfully there is a host of treatment options to help ease their pain and increase their quality of life.
Body Language Here are some signs your dog is suffering from arthritis:. Other Signs These are other signs you may notice if your dog has arthritis:.
Limping Difficulty getting up and moving Unwillingness to go up and down stairs or jump into the car Stiffness Unusual behaviors, such as irritability or aggression Licking the painful joint. While the first known cases of arthritis in humans can be traced back to BC, the same cannot be said for dogs.
In the late s veterinarians began diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in dogs, at which time numerous studies were published on the subject. Over time, we have seen an increasing number of cases of arthritis in dogs, which has given scientists and veterinarians alike an abundance of information to help them treat the condition. Dogs develop arthritis as they get older as the cartilage and joints give way to regular wear and tear. Arthritis can also occur from obesity, congenital abnormalities, athletic injuries, and trauma.
Just as in humans, the cartilage in a healthy joint provides a cushion between the bones. Just because there is no cure for arthritis doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to support them.
Canine Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are several different types of arthritis that can affect dogs, but the most common is X-rays are the best way to diagnose osteoarthritis. Surgery is another option for dogs in serious pain or with severe joint damage. My dog Stacy has been showing signs of arthritis and joint pain over the last 6 months. We took her to the local vet and she was so tensed up that I thought. Arthritis in dogs is common yet still very painful for your old pup. Vet About Arthritis Treatment for Dogs; Treatment for Severe Arthritis in Dogs If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, it will most likely require you to commit to.