Posted on 08-22-2017
It is not uncommon these days to see our canine companions far out living the life expectancy for their size or breed and our feline friends living well into their late teens. With these longer lifespans come normal aging processes and diseases that will need to be addressed and well-managed to help your pet maintain a good quality of life. The treatment approach for osteoarthritis, an incredibly common condition in our aging pets, has seen a number of advancements in the last few years. In this blog, we’re going to focus on the multiple treatment options that we offer to help better manage your cat or dog’s arthritis.
Medical management: there are number of medications that can be used to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, as well as simply address pain and discomfort. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are one of the mainstays for medical management of canine arthritis. Specific veterinary formulations, such as Rimadyl, Galliprant, and Metacam, are much safer your dog than over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as aspirin. No NSAIDs have been FDA approved for long term use in cats and over-the-counter NSAIDs should never be administered. We encourage all pet owners to ALWAYS consult with your local veterinarian prior to giving human medications to your pet. There are also additional pain medications that can be used alone or in combination with NSAIDs for overall better pain control.
Dietary Management: a lean body condition is essential in preserving long term joint function. If your pet is overweight, those extra pounds are putting unnecessary stress on their joints, heart, and other organs. There are a number of prescription diets, such as Hill’s Metabolic, that can help your pet achieve a lean body condition. There are also prescription diets available, like Hill’s j/d, specifically developed for the preservation of joint function and mobility. These diets contain higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids, as well as joint supplements (glucosamine and chondroitin) built right into the kibble. If your pet is less active due to arthritis and thus prone to weight gain, Hill’s has developed a combination diet, Metabolic + Mobility, to tackle both of these concerns.
Cold Laser Therapy: this treatment approach uses a beam of light that can penetrate deep into tissues without causing pain or damaging the tissues. Laser therapy helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, alleviate pain, and promote tissue healing and nerve regeneration. It does not require sedation to perform and a typical session, depending on the number of sites being lasered, only lasts a few minutes. Often times, x-rays will be taken prior to starting laser therapy to ensure there are no signs of cancer present, as it is contraindicated if there is a potential underlying tumor.
Adequan: this is an injectable medication that helps to block the enzymes that result in cartilage breakdown. It is typically given by your veterinarian, but some owners feel comfortable giving the injections at home once they’ve been instructed on proper technique. Often times, the addition of Adequan will result in lower necessary dosages of other medications, like NSAIDs, being used to treat arthritis.
Joint Supplements: starting a glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM joint supplement, like Dasuquin, prior to the onset or early on in the development of arthritis can help to slow the progression of the disease. At-risk breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and other large breeds or working dogs, should ideally be started on a joint supplement prior to development of arthritis.
If you feel like your pet may be showing signs of arthritis and would like to consult with one of our veterinarians about the above treatment options, please give us a call to schedule an appointment.
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