As with human arthritis, the degenerative process can be managed in several ways. Our aim is to maintain your pet’s quality of life and ability to exercise comfortably as long as possible. Treatment choices to achieve this include:
Products such as Glyde, Joint Guard, Paws Osteocare & Megaderm are all quality supplements aimed to ultimately improve joint function and help with pain relief, and are available at North Hobart Veterinary Hospital.
Most arthritis patients can benefit from their use and they are considered a basic starting level for joint care. These products can be used in both dogs and cats, and often complement treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. They do however take some time to build up their effectiveness.
NSAID including Metacam, Carprofen, Onsior & Previcox are stocked at NHVH. Just as in people, individual pets may respond better to one medication than another, so finding the ideal drug can require trying several products at times.
Please be aware that these MUST be prescribed by a vet as some medications have contraindictions. Also human NSAIDs tend to be toxic to pets, especially cats, so safer medications developed specifically for pet use have become the standard for joint pain management. Never use a human medication of any kind in a pet without specific instructions on how to do so from your veterinarian.
Sometimes the combination of a cartilage-protecting agent and an anti-inflammatory drug is not adequate for pain control, or not appropriate due to other medical conditions. There are several alternate pain relievers which can be used in pets. These medications are strictly analgesics and do not modify the inflammation of the joint.
Tramadol & Gabapentin has been found to have effects on chronic pain especially pain from pinched or inflamed nerves and when these medications are combined with NSAIDs, the combination of both drugs can produce a greater result.
Pentosan polysulfate Injections (Zydax or Cartrophen)
PPS stimulates the chondrocytes in joint cartilage to produce good quality glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) for cartilage health and joint fluid production. PPS has numerous beneficial effects for the arthritis patient including the inhibition of harmful enzymes involved in joint cartilage destruction, stimulation of cartilage repair and increased volume and viscosity of joint fluid. PPS also has an anti-inflammatory action. These injections are usually given over 4 weeks every 6 months.
Hills Prescription j/d & Hills Prescription Metabolic + Mobility Diets
Hills Prescription Diets are a complete nutritional approach to arthritis management. They utilise a unique level of the omega 3 fatty acid EPA which switches off the gene that causes cartilage degradation in the arthritic process. The particular balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the diet also provides anti-inflammatory benefits, along with glucosamine, chondroitin and antioxidants to protect the joint against free radicals produced by inflammation. The weight loss component of the Meta Mobility helps pets achieve weight loss and sustain a more suitable weight therefore helping lessen their arthritic issues.
Both are fully balanced diets food and must be given as a sole source of diet, as other foods dilute the optimum fatty acid levels. They are an excellent low maintenance form of long term arthritis management.
Weight loss, exercise and lifestyle management.
These factors are essential to maximise mobility and muscle tone in the arthritic patient. Gentle regular walking pace exercise is all that is required to maintain muscle mass. Off lead exercise, running, ball chasing, frisbee catching etc all contribute to pressures on joints which will undo the good work you’ve commenced with the above programs and increase reliance on NSAID medications.
Although controlled clinical studies are lacking, there are many anecdotal reports on the use of acupuncture in treating musculoskeletal disorders in dogs. Pain from hip dysplasia and accompanying degenerative joint disease is a common reason for acupuncture referrals. Dr Miriam Rustemeyer is available for acupuncture and physio appointments at NHVH. Read more about acupuncture for pets here.
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