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Arthritis

(5 Posts)
Empusa Fri 01-Jul-11 22:38:14

Has anyone had experience with a dog with arthritis? Is there anything you found that helps them?

So far the painkillers he's been tried on he hasn't got on with, and it's breaking my heart seeing him so uncomfortable.

mdoodledoo Sat 02-Jul-11 21:40:12

Hello - my dog doesn't have arthritis yet but will get it because she has elbow dysplasia, so I have to manage her pain and look after her joints in a proactive way.

She's on Metacam every single day - never misses a dose - and on days that she's really struggling I can give her codeine too, but I don't need to do that very often (yet?). I also give her Cod Liver Oil every day and Glucosamine.

These are the things that have been recommended by the vet - a specialist ortho-vet so I have confidence that these are the right things for her. I'm comfortable that the Cod Liver Oil is doing some good - so much so that I give it to my other dog just to help his joints and coat - goddam they have shiny coats!

The vet was cagey about the Glucosamine - saying that some people swear by it while others claim no difference and there's limited clinical evidence to support any strong claims. The Glucosamine takes a long while to build up in their systems so you have to stick with it before you start to see the benefit and you can't take a 'break' from treatment because you then you've got the same period of time needed to build the benefit back up again. To be honest I'm sticking with it because I worry that she'd be worse without it, but I'm not entirely sure that it's helping a whole load.

Just as a point of interest the specialist vet that operated on my dog had completed a post-grad qualification in human joints to extend his knowledge, and confirmed that there's masses of similarity between humans and animals in terms of treatments etc. So I feed high quality human Glucosamine with the same ingredients as the doggie version he recommended - he confirmed it's equivalent and I can often get it on special offer with '3for2' deals etc.

The other bit of advice that I've taken v seriously is to keep my girls weight in check (not always easy with a Lab) because arthritic joints are just going to struggle more with a heavier load to carry.

Ephiny Sun 03-Jul-11 10:41:11

Has your vet tried Cartophen injections for him? These helped our dog a lot, he has a top up every few months and they've really reduced the stiffness he used to get. We do give him a glucosamine supplement as well, I know there's not much firm evidence for the benefits, but thought it can't do any harm to try.

We also take him to hydrotherapy, it's a good way to get some proper exercise and get them working and stretching the leg muscles without putting strain on the joints. Might be worth looking into if there's anywhere near you that does it.

Agree about keeping weight under control, this is very important especially for the heavier breeds (we have a Rottie) - also agree it's not easy when you have a dog who loves his food sad

Empusa Sun 03-Jul-11 11:58:05

Unfortunately our dog was seriously overweight when we got him (about 2 months ago), so getting the weight off him is a slow process. And unfortunately, now his arthritis is bad, is even more difficult.

Scuttlebutter Mon 04-Jul-11 22:51:42

Empusa, do keep going with the weight loss, this is probably the single most important thing you can do to manage the condition.

I would go back to the vet and have a discussion with them about the condition - they may advise a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory or NSAID (such as Previcox) and you need to make sure your pain management is sorted out. I think of pain relief as a ladder, with light pain relief at the bottom and as the disease progresses, you will gradually move up through higher doses/more powerful drugs. It's important you regularly review this as this will have a major impact on your dog's quality of life. Your vet may be able to refer you for hydrotherapy (it's possible this may be covered by insurance - check your policy) - this could be especially helpful as your dog is overweight. Everything you can do to keep the muscles around the affected joint working will help matters.

I would also consider temperature in the winter - ours gets worse when it's cold. She has coats (she is a greyhound) and even wears a little housecoat during cold winter nights. Consider the bed they sleep on - make sure it's nice and soft and supportive. Make sure that when travelling they are comfy - we put extra dog beds in our car boot so travelling is very easy/pleasant for them.

Some people swear by Cartrophen - others have not so much luck, but it may well be worth a try - again, discuss with your vet.

Good luck! smile

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