Doc, could my dog have arthritis?
Arthritis is a common problem in dogs and can affect any age or breed. Causes include a congenital or developmental defect (such as hip dysplasia), an injury that results in an unstable joint (a torn ligament, for example), a fracture that involves the joint, degenerative changes from age and use, infection (Lyme disease), and immune diseases that affect multiple joints.
Signs of arthritis include lameness in one of more legs, stiffness, especially when just getting up, hesitation to jump up or down, or to go up or down stairs, slipping on hard floors, and inability to exercise as long as normal.
Infectious and immune-mediated arthritis are treated with specific medications. The other types of arthritis (also called osteoarthritis or OA) can be managed in one or more of the following ways:
1. Surgery to repair the underlying cause (torn ligament, fracture) if possible
2. Weight loss, if indicated – most dogs with OA do best if they are on the lean side
3. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as Deramaxx, Metacam, and Rimadyl are very good, FDA-approved, arthritis medications
4. Prescription diets such as Hill's Prescription j/d or Metabolic Mobility, that contain high doses of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, l-carnitine, and antioxidants.
5. Fatty acid supplements, which can help control inflammation
6. Glucosamine and chondroitin, which may help repair damaged cartilage
7. Adequan, which is the only FDA-approved joint repair supplement
8. Physical therapy, chiropractor, and acupuncture are all available
As you can see, there are many options to help to manage your dog’s arthritis. Talk to one of our staff if you have questions!