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New Therapies for Pet Arthritis

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Just fifteen years ago, dogs had to live with the pain of arthritis and the only treatments available for conditions like hip dysplasia were major surgery. For severe arthritis and conditions that could not be treated by surgery, dogs often just lived quietly in pain or were put on steroids or human aspirin. Chondroitin and glucosamine supplements were just introduced back then. The big change in therapy came with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which were obtained only by prescription and were costly, but in general, quite effective. All of these drugs have side effects, however and these should be discussed with your veterinarian prior to beginning therapy. Your vet may recommend doing blood work before starting therapy. A good idea for establishing whether it is safe to use NSAID treatments for your pet.

Non-prescription therapy has continued to evolve and now we have next generation joint supplements such as Cosequin DS and Joint MAX Triple Strength. Some of these supplements combine multiple ingredients in addition to Chondroitin and Glucosamine such as EPA and DHA (Omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties), creatine (muscle development), MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Although some may denounce this as a shotgun approach, many of these ingredients have been shown to be beneficial in clinical studies and in general, are completely safe when administered in a tablet or soft chew form. Even aspirin comes in a just-for-dogs version now, including a buffered soft chew version that is less irritating to the gastrointestinal system. Liquid joint supplements are also available. Itís a whole new ballgame for Fido.

Cosequin DS Join MAX Triple Arthrin Liquid Joint Supplement
Cosequin DS Joint MAX TS Arthrin Liquid Joint MAX

Lifestyle changes also important when dealing with canine or feline arthritis. Weight control is critical. Helping your pet achieve a normal weight if they are overweight will decrease the physical load on their joints and will help lessen the pain. Moderate exercise such as walks with your dog can be beneficial. Swimming is an excellent activity since it reduces the load on the joints while allowing full range motion activity and helps build muscle tone.

Alternative Therapy
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture have shown promising results. Homeopathic products have shown mixed results. Some pet owners report success with products such as Homeopet Joint.
Homeo Joint Bottoms Up Leash Adequan Adequan
Homeopet Joint Relief Bottoms Up Leash Bonies Joint Heated Beds

Lifestyle aids such as elevated feeders can be helpful for eliminating stress on the neck and back. Lifting harnesses such as the Bottoms Up Leash, can be helpful. Comfortable bedding can help reduce pressure on elbows. A heating pad can provide comfort, but donít allow your pet to lay directly on the pad. Place the pad under a blanket first to avoid any potential injury. For outdoor pets, provide a nice, comfortable and waterproof dog house. For swollen joints, a cold pack may be more helpful. Gentle massages can be helpful in increasing blood flow to joints as well as decreasing stiffness. Assisting your pet with range of motion and stretching exercise can be beneficial.