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So your dog has been diagnosed with dog arthritis. What do you do now? Many things can help in the treatment of arthritis. It is essential to know all your options first so that you can make an educated decision about what would be best for your dog. There are five categories to consider: Joint Supplements, Pharmaceutical Drugs, Alternative Therapies, Exercise, and Weight Management.
To completely understand Joint Supplements, you need first to understand the two main categories. They are Chondroprotectants, ie. Cartilage Protectors and Natural Anti-inflammatories. As for chondroprotectants, there are three main natural ingredients to consider. Glucosamine and chondroitin have, for a long time, been the forerunners when it comes to joint supplement ingredients. The newest molecule that is gaining tremendous popularity is hyaluronic acid. All of these are what are known as glycosaminoglycans. They are the precursors that are responsible for the formation and repair of healthy cartilage. As a dog get older or due to some traumatic damage, the body’s own ability to supply adequate amounts of these ingredients is diminished; therefore, it can be extremely beneficial to provide these ingredients via oral supplementation. Also, it has been found that these compounds work together; consequently, finding a supplement that incorporates all three can prove to be more productive.
As for natural anti-inflammatories, the list can be very long, but here a few that have been researched over the years and proven to be effective. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), Cetyl-M (Cetyl Myristoleate), and Omega 3 Fatty Acids, predominately fish oils. Though, recent research has shown incredible results with the oils extracted from the green-lipped mussels of New Zealand. This oil is rich in an omega-three fatty acid called eicosatetraenoic acid or ETA. It has proven to be a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory when it comes to joint inflammation.
The problem frequently is that consumers do not realize that not all joint supplements are created equal. The quality of the ingredients can vary dramatically when it comes to these products. Most of the time, the old saying “you get what you pay for” really is true when it comes to selecting the right supplement. Quality ingredients cost more, and therefore, the end product usually is more expensive.
Some pharmaceutical drugs have been very effective in relieving the discomfort associated with dog arthritis. The most common medications prescribed by veterinarians are class drugs called the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). This class of medicines though very useful has met some severe scrutiny due to there potential side effects. Most hospitals will check your dog’s blood work initially and then at one week after prescription and then four weeks after. In addition to there potential life-threatening side effects, there is also controversy whether or not these drugs are overprescribed within the veterinary community before more natural and safe options are considered.
Another pharmaceutical drug that has been gaining tremendous popularity has been Adequan. This drug is in a class of medications called disease-modifying agents. Developed in the 70′s for racehorses, adequate has shown that it can be very useful as one form of arthritis treatment for dogs.
Lastly, there are the exact neurologic pain medications such as tramadol and gabapentin, which can be a real godsend for the more severe cases of dog arthritis. These medications often give a debilitated dog a new lease on life by allowing them the comfort to get up and move around and therefore maintain vital muscle.
Alternative therapies have also been gaining tremendous popularity in recent years. Canine rehabilitation, i.e., dog physical therapy in the last ten years, has quickly become a very accepted treatment option amongst the veterinary community for dogs after surgery and for dogs suffering from arthritis, who have lost a joint range of motion and muscle mass. Canine rehabilitation specialists utilize many of the same modalities that human physical therapists use, such as electrical stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, cold laser therapy, and the top-rated underwater treadmill. Acupuncture is another alternative therapy that has proven benefits and gained in popularity. Most recently, stem cell therapy has been in the media.
Clinical studies and real-world use over several decades have proven that laser therapy alleviates pain and inflammation, reduces swelling, stimulates nerve regeneration, and cells involved in tissue repair.
Applicable for all animals across a wide range of conditions routinely seen in practice and the treatment of Osteoarthritis, Degenerative joint and disc disease, Hip dysplasia, Dermatologic disorders, Acute and chronic otitis.