Medical Management of Arthritis
To get the most out of your team, ensure you take measures to keep them comfortable. There are simple cost-effective ways you can help manage this.
- Pentosan injections are a great option as part of joint treatment. It aims to change the joint environment to promote healthier cartilage development, the production of thicker joint fluid and reducing enzymes that cause the progression of arthritis.
- Anti-inflammatories may also be considered. While these drugs are highly effective at reducing inflammation and pain, they also come with side effects and in some cases due to other medical issues may not be suitable for use. Blood testing should be done prior to using anti-inflammatories to confirm normal liver and kidney function. These tests should be repeated at regular intervals to confirm that the NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) are being tolerated.
- An additional medication such as tramadol, a synthetic opioid, may be added if sufficient pain relief isn’t being met. While not an anti-inflammatory, tramadol is a fairly potent pain killer, as well as being reasonably safe.
- Gabapentin may also be used in conjunction with other medications as its targets the nervous system, altering the transmission and strength of pain signals. This aspect makes it a good choice as part of a treatment plan for chronic pain.
- Joint supplements are available to promote healthy cartilage and joint environment. These contain varying combinations of glucosamine, chondroitin, green-lipped mussel and other chondroprotective substances.
This decision is best made with your veterinarian, taking into consideration factors such as diet and genetics/conformation (e.g., has a dog been diagnosed early on with hip or other joint abnormalities?).
And remember, as the weather becomes colder, ensure adequate warmth in their kennels, like blankets, even dog coats. This will help avoid stiff joints and slow the onset of arthritis.