Winter means the start of colder weather, and for many older pets, that can mean the start of trouble with arthritis.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease condition that affects the joints, either individually or generally.  The smooth cartilage lining the joints wears down and the production of the lubricating 'oil' (synovial fluid) is less than it should be.  In dogs, arthritis is particularly common in the hips and knees especially in older dogs of the larger breeds.

What are the signs of Arthritis?

  • Pain or stiffness when getting up, especially after a rest.
  • Difficulty in climbing steps, getting into the car or even just jumping up on you!
  • Laziness and no interest in playing or walks.
  • Pain is worse in the morning and after sleeping or resting.

Can Arthritis be treated?

Yes!! The good news is that we can help our pets.  There are basic things you can do like keeping your pets warm in winter and not allowing them to sleep on cold concrete.  A fit pet is better able to cope than an overweight pet as well.

There are a number of treatments that can be used to alleviate pain in dogs.

In this article we will cover :

  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Cartrophen
  • Dietry Additives

 

 

 

 

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have come a long way in the last couple of years and in most cases are now very safe to use long term in dogs providing both anti inflammatory actions on the joints and effective pain relief.  They come in easy to use formulas, of either once a day liquids or chewable tablets and have changed the quality of life for millions of dogs world wide.

Cartrophen is another drug that enjoys a high success rate when used in dogs.  Cartrophen is made from a naturally occurring plant substance and is given as a course of 4 weekly injections over 4 weeks.  Unlike other arthritis treatments, Cartophen does not just alleviate the symptoms of arthritis but actually encourages the joints to produce more synovial fluid.  This allows more movement of the joint with less pain.  80% of dogs treated with Cartrophen show some improvement which is often long lasting for up to 12 months.  Booster injections can also be given every one to three months depending on the severity of your dogs arthritis.

Dietry Additives are now also used extensively in treating arthritis in dogs just like people.  Medications like glucosamine, chondrotin, green lipped mussel, just to name a few are present in many natural treatments for arthritis which can be easily added daily to your pets food on a long term basis to aid in the treatment of the signs of arthritis.  Many commerical dog foods, such as Hills Science Diet J/D and Eukanuba Healthy Joints also contain additives to help treat arthritis.