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Dog arthritis treatments

A degenerative joint disease, arthritis inflicts dogs just as it does humans. Much of the inflammation and degradation of the cartilage in the joint is what causes the pain and disability in the dog as it ages. Having a cartilage that has been injured lends itself to releasing inflammation-causing enzymes. This disrupts the elasticity and the ability of the joint capsule to nourish and heal itself.

Dogs have a tendency to not vocalize if they are in pain from sore joints. Some of the signs may be a dog that is reluctant to go on long walks anymore. The procedure of laying down can become quite an ordeal for them, struggling to get down and to get up. Stairs become difficult to navigate, they may show signs of lameness and to jump up or down from couches or beds becomes impossible.

The most common joints affected are the hips, elbows and knees. Dysplasia is a developmental disease they acquire as puppies and usually appears when they are one or two years old. Once the damage of arthritis is done, it will not go away, although the severity of the symptoms can be reduced. Non-surgical management is a three step line of attack; weight control, exercise, and pain relief to increase the quality of life and slow down the progression.

The elements of a normal joint are made up of a joint capsule, synovial fluid, articular cartilage and subchondral bone. The soundness of the joint capsule is very important for a smooth gliding function, for the production of hyaluronic acid and defense mechanisms. To provide proper metabolic waste removal from the cartilage in addition to supplying nutrients and lubrication, adequate synovial fluid production is needed.

Osteoarthritis is quite often referred to as the wear and tear joint disease. As OA progresses, the subchondral bone becomes thicker, which increases the load on the cartilage, causing further damage and pain in the joint. The low-grade inflammatory process and joint capsular thickening will cause a decrease in range of motion as well as reduced functioning.

Chondroprotectants and Nutraceuticals are effective and popular for treating dogs with arthritis. A thorough treatment plan for arthritis includes weight loss, exercise modification, physical rehabilitation, pain management, nutritional therapy and possibly surgery.

By reducing the weight of the dog, it lessens the forces placed upon the abnormal joint surfaces. Any dog with hip dysplasia will only benefit from a reduction in their weight. Swimming is the ultimate exercise for a dog with arthritis. All of the joints are mobilized without excessive strain and weight placed upon them. They reach a great range of motion and actually feel good while exercising.

Omega-3 fatty acids help with dog arthritis pain. They prevent inflammation, degeneration of the joint, normalize the immune system, and prevent abnormal cell growth. Good sources of Omega-3 are found in green leafy vegetables, flax seeds/oil, green-lipped mussels and in cold water fish oils. The quality of oils will vary; look for organic cold pressed oils packaged in light resistant containers.

Two products that have anti-inflammatory properties and are effective in slowing the progression of arthritis are chondroitin and glucosamine. These can be used safely in combination with other products. Both of these reduce swelling and help with pain. For the most absorbable, use Glucosamine HCL.

Some herbal supplements that have been used for centuries in India are Boswellia and Tumeric. These naturally fight joint inflammation and are effective in reducing pain. Devils Claw and Ginger are also very helpful in the treatment of arthritis.

If you want to change the course of the disease, relieve the pain from it and use something totally natural, Acupuncture has been around for centuries. The results on animals is astounding.

Another method of treatment for arthritis is Homeopathy. Causticum is useful for an older dog that has less pain with heat. Rhus Tox is very effective for joints that are worse in cold damp weather and stiff upon rising. When the arthritis is worse with exercise and warm weather use Bryonia. Check with your dog’s health care practitioner for correct dosages for your individual dog.

Some simple modifications in the home can help with canine arthritis. Using ramps is very helpful for assisting with the dog getting up or down from places and instead of using stairs. Elevated food bowels minimize back and neck strain. Heated beds help with painful, stiff, achy joints. There are many options available for treating arthritis in dogs. Have surgery and drugs be a last resort, for the well-being of your dog.

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