Osteoarthritis (OA) is a big problem in our pets, with some estimates are >70% of older cats and 25-35% of dogs are affected. Sometimes the arthritic changes are noticeable with limping and obvious pain but often the only sign of OA is tiring easily, appearing stiff after activity, standing slowly, more reluctant to climb stairs, etc. Unfortunately arthritis is a progressive disease with it becoming more painful as the disease worsens. Luckily, we have several different treatment options to help protect the joints and decrease joint pain.
Keeping your pet at an ideal weight is one of the best things you can do with an animal with OA changes. We might recommend prescribing some w/d or r/d, prescription weight loss diets.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Fish oil has tremendous anti-inflammatory effects in the heart, skin and joints and is recommended for any animal with arthritis
Dasuquin is a prescription grade glucosamine chondroitin supplement that given long term can help protect the joints and slow down the progression of the disease.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Rimadyl or Metacam can greatly improve quality of life for affected animals. One of the mainstays of treatment, NSAIDs decrease pain associated with OA damaged joints.
It is sometimes needed to add adjunct therapy such as Tramadol or Gabapentin on top of an NSAID to control pain.
Seeing our pets slow down and start having joint pain can be heartbreaking but with proper dietary and medical management we can improve quality of life and help ensure our pets live pain free.