Modern Ways to Manage Arthritis in Dogs
It’s well known that dogs can suffer from Osteoarthritis as they get older – just like we do.
Even though there is no cure for this condition, the good news is – there are lots of ways we can help keep your dog comfortable and active all year round.
Signs your dog may have arthritis include:
Arthritis is generally diagnosed through a clinical examination as well as X-Rays to visualise the extent of the disease.
This is the most common method of managing the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Although medications are useful in an overall management program – we prefer to avoid their long term use – particularly in pets with impaired organ function.
2: Arthritis Injections (DMOADS)
Unlike anti-inflammatories which tend to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, Disease Modifying Osteoarthritis Drugs (DMOADs) target the progression of the disease. Studies show that using DMOADs slow osteoarthritis progression, as well as relieving pain and inflammation. They provide effective long term treatment of osteoarthritis. Due to the long development process of osteoarthritis, the lack of symptoms in the initial stages and the difficulty of diagnosis in these early stages, DMOADs are also used proactively used in dogs considered at risk dogs of developing the disease.
DMOADs act in multiple ways:
- Stimulate cartilage producing cells to produce healthy cartilage
- Slow cartilage damage by destructive enzymes
- Stimulate joint capsule cells to produce lubricating joint fluid
- Reduce swelling and block inflammatory processes
- Improve blood flow and nutrition to joint structures
These drugs are injected by your veterinarian weekly for at least 4 weeks. Usually you will see a reduction of osteoarthritis signs after 2 or 3 injections. The initial course of injections typically provides 3 – 6 months of relief from the problems associated with osteoarthritis. After this time your veterinarian may recommend another course of 4 injections.
DMOADs are very safe products with few side effects.
Next Generation DMOAD Zydax is our preferred option.
By themselves DMOADS can be good in the early stages of Osteoarthritis (Grade 1 -2 out of 4) however beyond that stage they should be used in conjunction with one or more of the following therapies.
Nutraceutical by definition:
A foodstuff (as a fortified food or a dietary supplement) that is held to provide health or medical benefits in addition to its basic nutritional value—called also functional food.
There are many nutraceutical products available that help fight the degenerative disease. Not all are as effective as others. One of several products we recommend to our clients is 4Cyte.
4: Laser Therapy
Laser Therapy or Photo Bio-modulation Therapy (PBM) is a natural, safe, gentle and effective method of reducing pain and inflammation in arthritic pets.
We use Laser Therapy in our practice every day for all sorts of conditions and our patients love it.
However – if you are considering Laser Therapy for your dog – keep in mind that not all Laser Therapy services advertised on the market are equal. Low wattage hand held devices are not designed for the depth of penetration required for effective arthritis treatment.
It has been shown that musculo-skeletal results for Laser therapy is dose dependant. High Doses are needed to achieve therapeutic results. This means laser Class IIIB or IV to achieve real benefits for your pet.
We use the Companion Class IV Laser Therapy equipment which is specifically designed for this purpose.
Initial treatments require 3 sessions for the first week then reducing as symptoms subside.
Acupuncture (including elecro-acupuncture) can be very effective in reducing the pain and discomfort of all types of animals including dogs, and horses. Acupuncture works by stimulating nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue prompting the body to produce pain relieving endorphins.
Acupuncture combined with Laser Therapy is found to be very effective in dogs with disc disease & spinal conditions.
6: Regenerative Medicine
Regenerative Medicine Treatments include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments, Stem Cell Activation injections and Stem Cell procedures.
Over the years we have successfully treated hundreds of dogs, cats and horses with regenerative medicine therapies. Most of these patients have reduced their dependence on medications with some coming completely off them over time after these treatments.
7: Rehabilitation Therapies
As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Centre – we offer a range of rehab therapies to include:
Hydrotherapy – EMS – Therapeutic Massage – Therapeutic Exercises.
If your dog has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and you’re interested in finding out the best combination of therapies to improve his or her quality of life, please give us a call or send us an email.