Last week I spoke to you about what arthritis is.
There are many products on the market that can help us deal with the pain of arthritis, they range from injectables to diets.
Here are some that the Vets recommend at Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic:
Zydax- A disease modifying osteoarthritis drug
- Stimulates cartilage producing cells to produce healthy cartilage
- Slows cartilage damage by destructive enzymes
- Stimulates joint capsule cells to produce lubricating joint fluid
- Reduces swelling and blocks inflammatory processes
- Improves blood flow and nutrition to joint structures
It is initially given as a course of four injections one week apart.
Improvements may be seen for 3 months or longer. In very mild cases of arthritis the benefits may last years. In more severe cases the vet will probably recommend ongoing boosters every 3 to 6 months.
NSAID’S- Stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
These drugs are very useful in the acute painful episode of arthritis, and act by reducing the inflammation responsible for the pain and degeneration of the joint. In some cases of chronic arthritis, dogs may need to stay on these drugs for a prolonged period of time to be able to have a reasonable quality of life. An initial dose is given to control symptoms and then gradually reduced to a level where the animal is pain free. Occasionally only short courses are necessary to control flare-ups.
With long term use of some medications it is recommended for your pet to have a blood test before they commence and every 6 months to ensure optimal health and reduce the incidence of side effects. Medications used: Meloxicam, Previcox & Cartrophen
Omega- 3- fatty acids
These help by decreasing detrimental inflammatory pathways involved in arthritis. They are found naturally in oily fish. Dietary supplements such as PAW are high in these fatty acids. They are also beneficial in decreasing cholesterol levels, and improving skin condition.
Joint support supplements (Nutraceuticals)
Joint support supplements are one of the easiest ways to help improve joint health, they are administered daily in the food or as a treat and there are no side-effects. Most joint support supplements contain, Glucosamine, Green lipped mussel extract & Chondroitin.
- Glucosamine: Is a key nutrient that helps to reconstruct damaged joints as well as keeping the remaining cartilage cells healthy and functioning properly.
- Chondroitin: Helps to block enzymes that break down healthy cartilage. MSM & Vitamins/ Minerals: MSM acts as an anti-oxidant along with the minerals and vitamins help to maintain healthy bone and cartilage.
- Green lipped mussel extract: contains omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, minerals and carbohydrates, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for maintaining joint cell structure and function.
Joint support supplements used: PAW Osteocare, PAW Osteosupport & 4Cyte
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT IN THE OSTEOARTHRITIC PATIENT
Many animals may show SIGNIFICANT improvement after weight loss so no further therapy is required.
An overweight dog is at higher risk of developing arthritis as well as other diseases, such as:
- Skin problems
- Cardiovascular problems
- Worsening of tracheal collapse
- Reduced resistance to infection
If your dog is overweight there is an unnecessary increase in the load the joints must bear – thus accelerating the damage to the cartilage and adding to the pain and discomfort. Reduced meal sizes and low-fat foods may be needed, and you may need to cut out food treat. Senior patient also require less food as their metabolism is slower and hence weight can is achieved more easily. It is recommended for the overweight patient to perform a full physical, weigh in, orthopaedic examination and blood test including thyroid screen.
A suitable exercise program can be developed to suit your lifestyle and your individual dogs needs. Some dogs start with as little as 5 minute lead walks three times a day, for others that are coping better, longer walks, swims and uphill work may be more appropriate. Please discuss with your veterinarian about a program that suits you and your dog.
The best way to get weight off an obese patient is to use a prescription diet food made for the purpose. There are a few different diets on the market, we recommend feeding Royal Canin Obesity management, Royal Canin Mobility, Hills Metabolic/Mobility & Hills J/D. Specially formulated diets for our arthritic patients are perfect, because they contain glucosamine & chondroitin to help with joint health and are also low fat.
Tune in next time, where I will talk to you about some different therapies you can use to help us feel better – Buster