The Best Treatment Options for Canine Arthritis
If your dog has developed arthritis, you may be wondering what you can do to relieve his pain and increase his mobility. Thankfully, although arthritis is a serious condition that affects many dogs, it’s also fairly treatable. The most common treatment options include OTC supplements and prescription medications available through your vet.
Steroids were once the most preferred treatment for canine arthritis. These compounds reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, and they allow your pet to move more freely and easily. However, they also have significant side effects, including increased thirst and hunger, loss of energy and a reduced ability to fight infections. They may also cause some joint damage. Today, steroids generally aren’t the first treatment for canine arthritis because so many other options are available.
NSAIDs are a common arthritis treatment option for both humans and dogs; however, human NSAIDs should never be used on dogs. Instead, there are specially formulated NSAIDs available for canine use only. These drugs are usually considered safe and effective, although they should only be administered with your vet’s guidance to lessen the chance of stomach, kidney or liver damage. Your vet may prescribe Carprofen Caplets or another NSAID to treat your pe’s arthritis.
If NSAIDs aren’t enough to treat your dog’s arthritis, your vet may recommend a prescription pain killer. These medications are often reserved for the most severe cases of arthritis and are usually only available with a veterinarian’s prescription.
In addition to medication, your dog may benefit from alternative treatment such as acupuncture. Many vets have started recommending acupuncture as a supplementary treatment due to its low risk of side effects or complications.
Although many arthritic dogs try to avoid exercise, they would in fact receive benefits from it, especially for their joints. Regular exercise helps keep joints lubricated and may even reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Since regular walking or running may be too painful for extended periods, though, low-impact exercises like swimming are the best options.
Regular massages may help reduce the symptoms of arthritis for your pet. You can perform one yourself at home or find a local pet massage therapist to do the job for you.
Warm compresses are soothing for arthritic joints and sore muscles. You might also use a heating pad on a low setting. Don't use too much heat, however, or you’ll risk burning your pet.
There are many pet-appropriate over-the- counter (OTC) supplements that can reduce arthritis inflammation. These include:
• Glucosamine hydrochloride
• Chondroitin sulfate
• Avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs)
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Eggshell membrane
• Green-lipped mussels
• Boswellia serrata
One or more of these supplements may provide relief and increase mobility for your pet. However, you should always check with your vet before giving your dog any supplements;
you want to ensure they’;re safe and won’t cause any negative interactions with your pet’s other medications.
In addition to the medications, supplements and treatment options mentioned above, try to make your home more comfortable for your dog if he has reduced mobility. Place a ramp over stairs, add a ramp to higher surfaces such as your bed if your dog is used to sleeping with you, provide plenty of cushioned surfaces that are easily accessible from the ground, and place your pet’s bed far away from windows and other drafty areas.
If your pet has arthritis, he will likely have it for the rest of his life. However, that doesn’t mean he has to live with pain and inflammation. Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your pet. Your dog is well worth the effort, and he will be grateful for any help you can give. If your vet prescribes any types of medication such as Carprofen, or other joint inflammation remedies, then check this site out for affordable options on whatever the two of you come up with as the best treatment plan.
Lannie, writer for Allivet. Allivet provides affordable pet supplies and pet medications, all
of which can be purchased online.