Arthritis Treatments For Pets

Arthritis Care For Pets

By far, the most important treatment for any overweight arthritic pet is weight loss. Studies in humans have shown a three fold benefit in decreased joint pain for every pound lost. We assume the same would be true for pets. Once pets have developed arthritis it has been shown that reducing vigorous prolonged athletic activity to multiple moderate workouts per day is beneficial and preferred. Keep them moving several times per day, but at a lower level.

For mild to moderate early arthritis in dogs and cats, we recommend a trial of a nutriceutical (supplement) that contains, usually, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and Avocado extract. Omega 3 fatty acids from cold water Fish Oil has an anti-inflammatory effect as well. There is a loading period of 3-4 weeks to see supplements’ benefits, but for 80% of dogs and cats there is an observable improvement seen when the pet first gets up after a long rest, or when climbing stairs, jumping into the car, climbing the cat tree, jumping into the litter box, etc. There are no known drug interactions with other prescriptions, usually no side effects, and no blood work monitoring needed. This is a great first step in therapy.

Some brand names we carry and recommend are Dasuquin, Cosequin, and Glycoflex.

For dogs who have moderate to severe arthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can provide wonderful relief from joint inflammation. These are drugs that function similar to many anti-inflammatories that people take, like Alleve, Advil, or prescription meds like Celebrex. You should NEVER use any human NSAIDS in dogs because many of them will cause gastro-intestinal ulceration. Tylenol can cause liver toxicity. Having said that, the NSAIDS that have been tested in dogs and FDA approved have brought many arthritic animals back into a reasonable level of activity and have rejuvenated many geriatric pets that years ago may have been euthanized due to poor quality of life. In fact, some dogs feel so good on these meds, that they are anxious to romp and over-exercise. Remember, since dogs who feel better have no sense of self-restraint, you must make sure YOU control the duration and intensity level of their daily exercise. Because of the rare possibility of adverse side effects, some bloodwork monitoring is required periodically. The commonly used compounds and brands recommended by our practice are Carprofen (and brand name Rimadyl), Deramax, and Metacam.

A new anti-inflammatory medication for osteoarthritis is Galliprant. It is unique in that it targets and quiets a pain receptor in joints, but does not have the uncommon adverse effects on the liver, kidneys, and gastric mucosa that can be seen with other NSAIDS.

When NSAIDS alone no longer provide adequate arthritis pain control, medications like Gabapentin, Amantidine, and rarely, narcotics can be added to improve the comfort of our arthritic pets. Injectable cartilage protectors like Adequan are not usually first line medications, but when added to other drugs, can be beneficial.

The Prescription pet food industry now combines Joint Mobility compounds in several foods targeting overweight pets or those with reduced kidney function. There are even Joint Mobility foods for pets with multiple metabolic problems. Our Veterinarians can recommend the appropriate food for your arthritic pets.

There are also alternative / complementary medicine modes of therapy available as well for pets with arthritis pain. Some pets get relief with acupuncture. Some pets respond to chiropractic manipulation by animal certified chiropractors, and the tissue warming effect of K-Laser therapy directly over inflamed joints is becoming popular.

Massage therapy, swimming, and many other modalities that have been used in humans can also benefit pets and there is even Doga (doggie Yoga) now available for those who want “down dog” to be more than a command!

Canine and feline Physiotherapy provided by certified practitioners often combines and coordinates many of these non-pharmaceutical treatment modalities improving the quality of life for many arthritic senior pets.

The pet supply industry has also created many cleverly designed ramps, stairs, and lift harnesses to benefit handicapped pets.

Caring for Geriatric pets and those younger pets with disabilities is our passion. Call our receptionists to learn how we can improve your pet’s life.


When your pet’s prescriptions are due to be refilled, consider our online pharmacy. You can order all your meds and foods from your home and have them delivered. LEARN HOW HERE

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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