My dog has arthritis and with colder weather approach he/she gets more uncomfortable- what can I do?
Arthritis is a common problem in both young and old dogs as well as cats. The most common causes of arthritis include developmental conditions (hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia) or traumatic conditions (fracture involving a joint surface or a torn cranial cruciate ligament) to name a few. Arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage which caps the end of long bones within a joint is worn thin or completely lost. As a result of the loss of the articular cartilage, bone on bone contact occurs that leads to debilitating pain, lameness, and loss of function.
What can you do? Here are a few tips to help your dog feel better:
In many cases ‘drugs‘ are needed for the control of the pain produced in an arthritic joint. Ideally non steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID) medications are used but used cautiously. Never, if at all possible, use steroids in an arthritic joint as steroids negatively impact the metabolism of the articular cartilage cells and will cause the little, good remaining cartilage to degenerate further. Our goal with the use of NSAID’s is to use the lowest effect dose for the shortest duration necessary to control the pain or as needed. These medications as with all medications can have side effects; therefore, knowledge is key. Ask one of our veterinarian for recommendations and guidelines for their successful use in your arthritic pet.
Finally, in some cases, surgery may be necessary.
I hope this helps but I realize you probably have as many questions if not more with all your new knowledge. Do not hesitate to ask one of our veterinarians for further recommendations based on the above guidelines.