When it comes to Arthritis a proper diagnosis is a must this includes a complete workup to rule out secondary arthritis. When you take your pet to the veterinarian, is important to get a baseline blood work, which checks for general infection, anemia, health status of kidneys, liver, pancreas and thyroid. Also you will want to have radiographs done so you can see the state of the wear and tear of the joints.
Let's focus on primary arthritis which is found mainly in older dogs. In the US in 2015, there was estimated to be about 77.8 million dogs. From this, about 39% of them are 7 years or older. Now, we know 80% of the older dogs have arthritis, which means about 24.2 million dogs in US are suffering from arthritis-related pain right now.
Arthritis, up until recently, in the human field, was thought to be incurable. The main focus in treatment was to control pain with the use of pain killers.
A lot of pet owners start giving aspirin as soon as they noticed any signs of pain. Aspirin is not a safe thing to give to dogs or cats it can cause gastric ulcers at very low doses. Another type of medication used is NSAID pain killers such as Rimadyl, Deramax,Previcox, Metacam or their generic forms. Opiate pain medications are also used.
Joint supplements like Glucosamine and chondroitin are now more mainstream. They have been used widely by traditional veterinarians. Other options that can greatly benefit your pet are laser treatment, acupuncture and stem cell therapy.
Newer supplements like Hemp are showing promise, and of course there are pain killers which are very effective but may have side effects.....
Stay tuned for more on arthritis
Dr. Ana Falk