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PETS FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Treatment Options for Dogs | Arthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis (OA), a form of arthritis, significantly afflicts the canine population. This complex joint disorder adversely affects mobility and deteriorates the overall quality of life in dogs. Commonly misconstrued as a mere byproduct of aging, OA entails more complex underlying factors, extending beyond the simplistic notion of advancing age. 

 

dog in pain

What Is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a medical condition characterized by inflammation and the gradual breakdown of joints. Its diagnosis typically involves a thorough physical examination, palpation to assess pain and its intensity, and the use of radiographs or other advanced imaging techniques to get a clearer picture of the joint's condition.

 

Causes of OA in Dogs

Body Conformation

The physical build and structure of a dog can predispose it to osteoarthritis. For instance, certain breeds with a predisposition to hip or elbow dysplasia may be more prone to developing OA.

Body Condition/Weight

Overweight or obese dogs are at a higher risk for OA due to the extra strain placed on their joints.

Abnormal Joint Development

Conditions like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or luxating patellas can cause abnormal joint development leading to early-onset osteoarthritis.

Past Injuries and Surgeries

Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears, and surgeries on joints can contribute to the development of OA.

Nutritional History

An improper diet can affect a dog's weight and bone health, potentially leading to osteoarthritis. Also, the lack of certain nutrients can hamper the body's ability to repair cartilage.

 

Signs and Symptoms of OA in Dogs

Dog with Arthritis

Difficulty in Movements

Dogs with OA often find it challenging to perform simple movements like getting up, lying down, or changing positions.

 

Stiff Walking

Affected dogs may exhibit a stiff gait, moving with less fluidity and ease than usual.

 

Limping

Limping or favoring one leg over another is a common sign of joint pain associated with OA.

 

Hesitation in Activities

Dogs may hesitate or outright refuse to participate in activities they previously enjoyed, such as climbing stairs, jumping, or running.

 

Sensitivity to Touch

Certain areas of the body may become sensitive to touch due to the pain and inflammation associated with OA.

 

Reduced Stamina and Activity

Dogs may tire more easily, show a decrease in overall activity, or be less eager to participate in play.

 

Aggressive Behavior

Pain and discomfort can cause changes in behavior, including increased irritability or aggression, especially when the painful areas are touched.

 

Early detection and intervention can significantly improve the quality of life for dogs affected by osteoarthritis. A combination of a balanced diet, appropriate exercise, weight management, and veterinary care, including potential medication or supplements, can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of this degenerative joint disease.

 dog with arthritis

Treatment Options

Nutrition:

  • A veterinarian-prescribed diet aimed at achieving and maintaining an optimal body condition to alleviate joint stress.
  • Specialized nutrient profiles designed to support joint health and potentially slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Pain Medications:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), such as meloxicam and carprofen, can provide relief from pain and inflammation.
  • In certain cases, corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs might be prescribed.
  • Gabapentin is an option for managing chronic pain, especially in dogs that cannot tolerate NSAIDs.

Nutraceuticals:

  • Supplements boasting medicinal properties may augment the treatment plan.
  • Common nutraceuticals include glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids, which may support joint health and ease discomfort.

Physical Medicine:

  • Therapies like medical acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and medical massage can provide relief and improve mobility.
  • Physical rehabilitation encompassing therapeutic exercises and hydrotherapy can enhance joint function and muscle strength.

Surgery:

  • For severe osteoarthritis cases, surgical interventions such as total hip replacements or joint fusion procedures can be explored.
  • These procedures aim to alleviate pain and restore a level of functional mobility, significantly improving the dog's quality of life.

Each treatment approach or combination thereof should be personalized based on the dog’s specific condition, the extent of osteoarthritis, and the veterinarian's recommendations. Proper management of osteoarthritis necessitates a multifaceted approach to ensure the dog experiences less pain, maintains mobility, and continues to enjoy a good quality of life.

 

Home Care for Dogs with Osteoarthritis (OA)

dog having in pain

Caring for a dog with osteoarthritis entails more than just medical care; it also entails modifying the home environment to accommodate their restricted mobility and comfort requirements. Owners can make their houses more suitable for their arthritic pets by doing the following:

 

1. Soft, Comfortable Bedding

Arthritic joints can be painful, and providing a cushioned resting place can help alleviate pressure points. Orthopedic dog beds or memory foam mattresses can offer additional support and comfort. Placing the bedding in a warm, draft-free location can also be beneficial.

 

2. Elevated Food and Water Bowls

Bending down can be painful for a dog's neck and back, particularly if they have arthritis in these regions. Raised feeders enable dogs to eat and drink without putting unnecessary strain on their joints.

 

3. Non-Slippery Floor Surfaces

Hardwood, tile, and other slick surfaces can be dangerous for dogs with OA, causing slips and falls. Non-slip mats or rugs can give the traction they need to move confidently.

 

4. Ramps or Steps

Jumping onto or off furniture or navigating stairs can be difficult and painful for dogs with arthritis. Portable pet ramps or steps can be placed where needed, allowing the dog easier access to couches, beds, or vehicles without straining their joints.

 

5. Adhering to Veterinarian Recommendations

Always follow the guidance provided by the veterinarian regarding dietary needs and medication regimes. Proper feeding can help manage weight, reducing strain on joints, while medications can alleviate pain and inflammation.

 

To these treatments, regular mild workouts, short but frequent walks, and massage can help maintain joints mobile and muscles strong. As your dog's condition evolves, it's critical to monitor them and make any necessary alterations to their environment to keep them as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

 

Hemp Seed Oil for Optimal Health

What it Does: This is not just any pet supplement. Made from Cannabis, this product has been lauded for its extensive benefits, including its ability to enhance overall well-being. It is adept at easing anxiety, promoting restful sleep, and supporting a range of bodily functions, from muscle and joint health to the optimal function of the heart, brain, and digestive system.

How to Use It: Administering this product is straightforward. Depending on the size of the animal, add the recommended dosage to your pet's wet or dry food or spoon-feed it daily. While the dosage instructions are provided on the bottle, it's heartening to note its suitability for a wide variety of animals—from dogs and cats to horses, birds, and even reptiles.

More Information: Feedback from our clientele speaks volumes. Many have observed a noticeable uplift in their pet’s mood within just a week of use. Other signs of its efficacy can be discerned through a shinier coat and a reduction in skin irritations and joint pain.

Dosage:

  • Small (<10kg) - 1/4 dropper
  • Medium (10-25kg) - 1/2 dropper
  • Large (25kg+) - 1 dropper

Adding Hemp Seed Oil into the care routine can significantly complement traditional methods for managing OA in dogs. Beyond the usual provisions like soft bedding and elevated bowls, Hemp Seed Oil emerges as a potential game-changer. 

Using it alongside conventional care can enhance your pet's quality of life. As with any new product, monitoring your dog's response and making necessary adjustments is vital to their comfort and well-being.

 

Conclusion

Osteoarthritis poses challenges for dogs, but with proper care and treatment, they can maintain comfort and quality of life. Collaborating with a veterinarian is essential. Regular check-ups, appropriate nutrition, and consistent activity can significantly aid in managing OA.

As pet owners become more educated about the condition, they can make informed decisions that align with their pet's best interests. Embracing both traditional and holistic approaches ensures that our furry friends not only live longer but also thrive despite the challenges of OA.

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