What is Dog Arthritis and How Can it Be Treated
Dog arthritis is a painful, non-reversible condition that affects our furry companions. It can occur as a normal part of the aging process, with strain such as that caused by obesity, or because of a sustained trauma such as a broken bone. It can occur in virtually any bone in the body, but hinged joints like the elbows and hips are particularly susceptible. In some cases, such as with hip dysplasia in dogs, the arthritis may be due to an inherited abnormality.
Dog Arthritis is typically characterized by two sets of symptoms: there is a decrease in synovial fluid, the viscous liquid that lubricates joints, and calcium can be deposited in and around the bones. As a dog ages, the both the quality and quantity of synovial fluid diminishes. Instead of gliding effortlessly inside of the joint capsule, the bones produce pain causing friction as they move. This is also typical of hip dysplasia in dogs.
Calcium deposits are a function of the body’s natural healing system. Calcium is the foundation of bones. When a bone becomes broken, extra calcium is sent there in order to repair it. The body also sends extra calcium to repair non-bone tissue that is degenerating. Unfortunately, these bony formations can rub against nerves and other bones, thus causing pain and further complicated the dogs arthritis.
Medications and treatments for Arthritis in Dogs
Often referred to as a degenerative condition, arthritis tends to get worse over time. There is no cure for the condition. Dog arthritis treatment is centered on alleviating pain and slowing the progression of the disease. Several medications aim to achieve this, unfortunately some have worse side effects than benefits..
NSAIDS, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes used however these drugs tend to have very damaging and lasting side effects on dogs. The brands typically used are: Rimadyl, Etogesic, and Metacam. The problem with these drugs is that they are very hard on the liver and kidneys. For an older animal, this can spell trouble since their organs may already not work very well. Tramadol is a NSAID alternative dog arthritis treatment that is beneficial for some.
Steroids are usually reserved for severe cases. These dogs may not be able to stand or walk without treatment. Although they work quite well, steroids have many detrimental serious side effects.
Enzymes work extremely well a they are natural compounds found, and needed in a dogs body. They work on creating extra joint lubrication. LifeSpan has a great combination of these enzymes. Green lipped Mussels and other natural sources of these compounds are also used sometimes. Fish Oil for Dogs Arthritis also helps with the pain.
Homeopathic remedies, which improve the role of the immune system, is also a good option for dog arthritis treatment. These include the use of enzymes, and herbs. Acupuncture is a great non-pharmaceutical therapy.