Managing arthritis in dogs is no easy task, but there are some things that owners can do at home and in collaboration with their veterinarian to help reduce pain and manage joint health. Some of these steps include modifying the home to make it more comfortable, setting up a healthy diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and making sure there are no tripping hazards around the home such as stairs, slippery surfaces, or dog gates.
A thorough clinical examination by your veterinarian will be a critical part of assessing the condition and putting together a treatment plan tailored to your pet’s specific situation. This will involve a general anesthetic and radiographs to identify the affected joints. A multi targeted treatment will then be put in place which may include a combination of dietary supplements, exercise modification, and pain medication.
Diet and weight management: It is important to controdogs arthritis treatmentl any excess fat in the system as this can increase the pressure on the joints causing further inflammation and discomfort. Your vet can recommend a veterinary formulated dog diet that is low in fat and contains key nutrients to support the joints.
Exercise: Regular controlled exercise is essential to maintain healthy joints. This can be achieved by daily walks, swimming, and other appropriate activities that allow the bones to remain strong and flexible.
Nutraceuticals: Your veterinarian can prescribe a variety of nutritional supplements that are specifically formulated for arthritis and provide medicinal benefits. These can include glucosamine, chondroitin, EPA, MSM, MicroLactin (Duralactin), and fish oil.
NSAIDs: These are the most common drugs used to treat canine arthritis. They block the prostaglandin receptors that cause pain in the joints, thus reducing inflammation and discomfort. They can be given by mouth or in an injection.
Grapiprant: This is a new NSAID that has recently been approved for use in chronic canine arthritis pain. It blocks the EP4 receptor, the primary pain receptor in the canine joint. It is less toxic than other NSAIDs and can be used in puppies as young as nine months of age.
Pentosan polysulphate injections: These are also an option for dogs who have persistent and severe joint pain. These are often given weekly for a period of months and work by thickening the fluid in the joints to reduce rubbing between the cartilage surfaces, thereby preventing inflammation.
Hydrotherapy and cold laser therapy: Using these therapies can help reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the joints. They are offered by some physical rehabilitation specialists and can be referred to by your veterinarian.
Other therapies: Medical acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage can all provide pain relief for many dogs with OA. They are also helpful in addressing other physical issues related to the condition such as poor posture and lack of flexibility.
Behavioural changes: Your arthritic dog may be more grumpy and reluctant to play games they once enjoyed, take longer to get up or lay down after lying down, and have difficulty walking on slippery floors.