It is a difficult reality of having a pet, that our pets age more quickly than we do. Within the span of a decade, our friends go from spry and high energy, to stiffer and slower.
Even though we can’t turn back time and make them puppies again, there are many options that can make our pets more comfortable.
Many pet owners do not realize that arthritis means pain.
If an animal has arthritis, then there is some degree of decreased mobility due to pain. This is often not terrible pain, but instead more of a soreness or discomfort. Many of these animals will be reluctant to move around for most of the day, but will have no problem running to get a treat or chase a squirrel. This is not because they are being “lazy,” but rather, they are trying to minimize how often they have to feel this pain.
There are many different options available to treat arthritis in dogs. Most people only know about a few of these, so I wanted to compile a more comprehensive list that includes all of the treatments that I am aware of (I am sure that even more than this exists). Not all veterinarians offer all of these treatments, so you may have to do a little research to find someone in your area that provides the service you are looking for.
I will cover pharmaceutical, alternative and natural treatments andmy personal experiences and opinions of them. This is not meant to substitute for medical advice. Discuss these options with your veterinarian to decide which one would be best for your pet.
I plan to write separate blog posts with more details about each individual category (and will update these links as I write each new post), so sign up for my newsletter to stay in the loop!
1) Veterinary pharmaceutical and prescription treatments:
This category includes the standard medical treatments available at the majority of veterinary clinics across the country, such as NSAIDs, opiod medications, glucosamine and Adequan. These treatments are a great starting point for most pets, however, they can have some side effects and limitations in their effectiveness long-term when used as sole treatments. Click HERE to learn more…
3) Acupuncture and Gold bead implants:
Acupuncture can make pets with arthritis more comfortable. The effects of one acupuncture treatment (specifically for arthritis) can last anywhere from 1-4 weeks in most pets, so continued treatments are required for maximum benefit. If your pet responds well to acupuncture therapy, but you are limited in how often you can bring them in for treatments, gold bead implants may be a better long-term option for your pet.
Click HERE and HERE to learn more about acupuncture for arthritis…
4) Laser therapy:
There are many different classes and types of lasers available for painful and arthritic joints. Laser utilizes a light that is pointed over the affected area and leads to cell regeneration and increased blood flow. It has a local anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect.
6) Chiropractic adjustments:
While chiropractic adjustments are more commonly associated with acute pain, rather than the chronic pain associated with arthritis, having a properly aligned spine will help your pet walk and feel better overall.
5) Physical therapy:
PT includes various strength exercises and underwater treadmill movement that allows animals to build up muscle strength and improve joint function, without as much stress on the joints.
2) Stem Cells:
This is a newer treatment option for severe arthritis in dogs. This treatment, however, does require anesthesia. The positive effects of even one treatment can last anywhere from 1-3 years. It is a great option for relatively younger or middle-aged dogs with severe arthritic pain.
Also known as LTCI, this is a relatively new treatment option available for dogs. It is an injection that is given at specific intervals that addresses the auto-immune component of arthritis. By boosting the immune system and modulating the inflammatory response in joints, dogs able to move around with much less pain.
11) Assisi loop:
This is a loop device uses pulsed electromagnetic field technology to bring down pain in localized areas. Pet owner can purchase this device on their own and use it at home.
8) Herbal treatments:
This category includes Chinese herbs, Ayurvedic and traditional western herbs. Common treatments include Turmeric, Yucca and Boswellia which all have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities.
9) Essential oils:
Oils derived from plants not only smell good, but can also help alleviate pain and inflammation for arthritic joints in pets.
This is a newer but increasingly popular option for managing arthritis and pain in animals. CBDs are derived from the marijuana or hemp plants (the ones for animals are often hemp-based). There are some legality concerns with this treatment which I will discuss in more detail in upcoming blog posts.
12) Chinese Mushrooms:
While Chinese mushrooms are most commonly associated with cancer treatments due to their potent immune-stimulating abilities, they can also help with arthritis. This is one of my favorite varieties for arthritis in pets: Bixbi Joint.
The most common treatments for arthritic pain in animals include the popular formulas: Traumeel and Zeel. However, there are a few other products that can also be helpful and very safe to help animals with arthritic pain. They are often tasteless and easy to administer.
14) Nutritional Interventions:
Diet changes can have a positive effect on arthritic pain. This is especially true when it comes to adding the beneficial fatty acids into the diet (Omega-3s and 6s). The majority of pet foods do not provide the right fats in the correct balance. I will discuss this in later posts. In addition, Standard Process is a company that makes targeted micronutrition supplements that help support the whole body, including the joints.
And last, but certainly not least, one of the most effective treatments for arthritis in both pets and people includes exercise and daily movement. The more you continue to take your pet on walks, the better their joints fare in the long-term. Exercise helps improve flexibility, maintain strength, and also helps by creating more joint fluid. Avoid any sudden strenuous activity, but instead opt for slow and steady walks.
So if nothing else, keep up the walking!
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