Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is a common affliction of older pets. This disease stems from abnormal forces on normal joints (such as in working dogs) or normal forces on abnormal joints (dogs with dysplasia or previous trauma, etc). Over time this causes degradation of the cartilage and bony remodeling. Other signs can include popping or grating sounds, thickening of the joints, stiffness and limping especially when first getting up. There are several treatment options available for DJD and often a multi-modal approach is the most effective. We recommend the following options for your pet.
Dietary Therapy: Hill's Prescription diet J/D is specially formulated to have both anti-inflammatory properties and chondroprotective agents. This means that it helps with both the pain and slows the progression of disease. It is also important to maintain your pet an appropriate weight to reduce the stress on the joints. If your pet is significantly overweight we may use a weight loss diet first before using the J/D. You may need to feed the j/d for 6-8 weeks before determining if it is helping.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These are supplements that have a mild anti-inflammatory effect and also help protect the cartilage in the joints. This medication makes pets feel better as well as slowing down the disease process. Seraquin is the glucosamine/chondroitin supplement we are currently carrying. This medication will be started at a loading dose for approximately 4 weeks and then reduced to a maintenance level.
Adequan: This is another agent that protects the cartilage and is given as an injection. The injections are given every 2 weeks for 8 weeks and then given on a reducing schedule until we find a suitable interval that works for your pet.
Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDS): These medications are similar to other medications that people take for arthritis such as Ibuprofen. However they are specially formulated to decrease the risk of GI problems such as ulcers and anorexia. It is very important that you never give a human arthritis medication or pain-killer to your pet! Examples of canine NSAIDS include Rimadyl, Previcox, and Metacam. Periodic monitoring (blood test) is needed with the use of these medications to check for liver and kidney disease (complications are rare but do need to be monitored for).