When it comes to things like puppy and dog vaccinations we clearly see that it is done for prevention. While a vaccination may not prevent your dog from getting the disease it will allow your dog's immune system to fight back and minimize the impact of the disease so instead of being devastating it is just an annoyance.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for arthritis but the same principle of prevention applies. You may not be able to stop your dog from getting arthritis but you can prevent it from becoming as bad as it would have been without your intervention.
Over the years many readers have posted on the site about their Aussies and the struggle they are having with arthritis. Many write about the pain their dogs are experiencing and the confusing array of drugs and treatments available. Some have been in the terrible position of giving their dogs medications to help them feel better only to have the side effects make things much worse.
There are many arthritis medications for dogs that can help your dog stay active by reducing pain and inflammation.
That's why with a terrible disease like arthritis, prevention and giving your dog the best nutrition and supplements to allow their bodies to stave off the degenerative effects for as long as they can and to minimize the damage as much as possible gives them the best chance to live the longest with the least amount of pain possible, even if it can't be prevented altogether.
There is a range of dog arthritis medication and treatment available that can improve the quality of life for your dog. Arthritis is a degenerative disease so you will likely use more than one approach and use different drugs and treatments at different times as things progress.
The sooner you know you are dealing with arthritis with your dog the better so you can minimize the damage and slow the progression of the deterioration as much as possible. What arthritis medication for dogs or other treatments are there if your dog is diagnosed?
• NSAIDs are commonly used dog arthritis medication
• Corticosteroids can be used for dog arthritis treatment
• Prevention and treatment can include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and other supplements.
Once diagnosed with arthritis your vet will likely prescribe an NSAID dog arthritis medication
NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like Rimadyl (Carprofen), Metacam (Meloxicam), Deramaxx (Deracoxib), or Previcox (Firocoxib) are commonly used to treat joint pain like that caused by arthritis.
They will not reverse damage that already exists. Rather they are used to reduce inflammation which in turn helps ease the pain and make your dog more comfortable. They should be prescribed by your vet and not used in conjunction with other meds including over-the-counter drugs without approval of your vet.
Another dog arthritis medication your vet might recommend are corticosteroids. Steroids can have serious side effects and are used primarily for short-term relief of inflammation and pain.
Your vet would likely require blood tests while your dog is on steroids (like prednisone, prednisolone, methyl prednisolone, dexamethasone, etc.) due to the negative side effects.
Corticosteroids will likely be tried after other options have been exhausted.
Preventing further deterioration of the joints and allowing for rebuilding damaged areas is the goal of treatments that include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and omega-3 fatty acids.
While omega-3 fatty acids may be incorporated in some dog foods the quality and quantity may not be sufficient. You will want to choose a high quality supplement. For example, Dr. Jones' Ultimate Canine Health Formula includes glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega fatty acids 3, 6 and 9, as well as a long list of other minerals, vitamins and more.
Your vet will likely want to start with this approach in combination with NSAIDs leaving more drastic measures like corticosteroids or Adequan (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG)) for later, especially when there is a question of their efficacy.
Like oral glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, Adequan, given by injection is designed to allow the body to repair damage, protect cartilage and reduce inflammation.
There is dog arthritis medication in the narcotics class that can be used to alleviate pain. However, these are not generally used unless all other options have been exhausted and the progression of arthritis has reached advanced stages.
You can find out more about pain meds for dogs here.
When possible you will want to make sure your puppy does not have a genetic history of joint problems. Your breeder should be able to provide you with this information. Otherwise, good nutrition and dog food supplements can give your dog the best chance at preventing or mitigating damage from joint deterioration.
When less intrusive options like glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate have been tried there are other drug options available to help deal with the damage and inflammation as well as dog pain meds to deal with the discomfort and provide a better quality of life.
One of the main problems with arthritis and joint deterioration is that your dog doesn't let you know they are in pain until it has progressed. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs like changes in behavior including increased aggression or reclusiveness, or changes in grooming habits, perhaps licking a painful joint. Moving stiffly or more slowly and avoiding stairs and jumping up.
Early intervention with dog arthritis medication, nutrition, and therapy designed to protect, rebuild and maintain range of motion and reduce pain will serve your dog best in the long term.
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