It’s a sad reality that one day, our darling little pups will no longer be the balls of fun and energy they once were. Just like people, dogs get old. They lose energy, become tired and frail, and aren’t able to engage in the fun activities they once used to. One of the most (if not THE most) ailments associated old age in dogs, is Arthritis. It can be heartbreaking to watch our beloved four legged friends start to suffer with pain and discomfort when doing even relatively stress free things, such as getting up to get his food. The good news is that with modern science, there are many ways to treat your dog’s Arthritis. While it may not be cured, it will ensure that your precious furry will live out the rest of his days with comfort and dignity.
As your dog gets older, cartilage in his joints begin to wear thin. These cells die and cause inflammation of the joints as well as a large release of joint fluid. With the thinning of cartilage, joint spaces become smaller and the bone underneath these spaces begin to deteriorate. With all of these unfortunate triggers, your dog will begin to experience horrible side effects, including muscle atrophy, lameness, pain, and an inability to use limbs properly.
There is a wide range of medical treatments for dogs with Arthritis,as well as holistic approaches. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from Arthritis, taking him to a Veterinarian would obviously be your first port of call. Your vet will perform a variety of checks physically, such as moving and feeling limbs. The best way to confirm arthritis, however, is by X-Ray.
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) have been shown to be highly effective in pain management of dogs with Arthritis.
Dog owners must, however, be very aware of the possible side effects of these drugs, which, although quite rare, may do far more harm than good. Some possible side effects include:
- Stomach and intestinal problems
- Loss of appetite
- Slowing the blood clotting process
Other methods of treatment include:
- IV therapeutic laser therapy-a more recent form of arthritis treatment which helps to stimulate blood flow to joint and muscle tissues.
- Adequan Injections:These injections have been shown to be extremely effective for the treatment of arthritis in dogs. It assists the cartilage in repairing its tissue. The only downside is that quite a few treatments are needed, and the injections are expensive.
- Tramadol is an analgesic which is a great pain reliever, with very few side effects. Home CareAlong with medicinal care, appropriate care at home is just as beneficial.
- Use a heating pad (the cold aggravates arthritic symptoms greatly) to ease sore joints.
- Light exercise is not at all harmful, although it must be kept very light, such as a few slow walks around the yard throughout the day.
- Make sure your dog has a nice warm and cozy bed to sleep in and that it is easy to get out of.
- Keep your dog’s nails trimmed, so they are close to the floor.Make sure your floors are soft, carpeting is best, and most importantly, not slippery.
The Bottom Line
It is an unfortunate reality that most of us will outlive our beloved dogs, and see them age, but with the right love, care and medical attention, you can be certain you have given them the best they deserve!