Arthritis Fact Sheet
Osteoarthritis is a painful, progressive disease that affects many dogs, especially as they get older. In order to reduce the affects of arthritis it is necessary to develop a management program suited to the needs of each individual dog. This can be done with the help of the veterinary surgeon, veterinary nurse and most importantly the owner.
Reducing Pain & Inflammation
Your veterinary surgeon may prescribe drugs to help ease the pain and inflammation in the joints. These may be in tablet, liquid or injectable form. Make sure you administer the medication at the correct interval and return to the surgery for regular check ups as advised.
If your dog is overweight it is very important to correct this. Sometimes simply reducing the strain on the joints by loosing excess weight reduces much of the pain associated with arthritis. Please call in at the surgery to weigh your dog anytime during office hours or make an appointment to discuss your dogs diet with a veterinary nurse.
It is important to keep joints mobile with suitable amount of exercise. However too much uncontrolled exercise can increase stress on joints. Frequent short lead walks are often a good start, gradually increasing exercise as the dog responds favourably to the program. Jumping or twisting can also cause stress on joints so avoid playing with other dogs or chasing games. Swimming is excellent exercise and taking your dog to a hydrotherapy pool can be very beneficial. Sessions should be very short to start, gradually increasing in duration. Swimming in cold water such as lakes and rivers is not recommended.
Make sure your dog has a good bed, large enough to stretch out on and thick enough to support his weight and insulate him from cold floors.
Glucosamine is an useful joint supplement and helps to maintain healthy joint cartilage and reduces the progression of arthritis. It is available in many forms and combinations and can be purchased from various places including veterinary surgeons, pet shops, health food shops and chemists. When looking for a supplement for your dog it is worth taking a few minutes to read the label and consider the following factors:
- A combination of glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin has been scientifically proven to be more effective than glucosamine alone.
- Glucosamine hydrochloride is a naturally occurring product whereas glucosamine sulphate (which is often cheaper!) is a synthetic product and includes salt, which is not advisable to older pets.