Arthritis can be painful for dogs, and make them more reluctant to participate in the daily activities they enjoy. Working, hunting, and active dogs tend to put more stress on their joints. Age, breed, and genetics also play a role. If you notice your dog slowing down, showing signs of pain, or losing interest in physical activity, it may be time to talk with your veterinarian. Currently, there is no cure for arthritis, but your veterinarian can discuss options that can make your dog more comfortable. Also, when caught in the early stages, arthritis can be easier to treat and manage. Your veterinarian may recommend a supplement or prescribe a pain reliever for your dog. Galliprant is a new medication for dogs with arthritis pain.
Galliprant is prescription strength pain reliever designed for dogs with osteoarthritis. It contains grapripant, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). This medication works by blocking the EP4 receptor, which is responsible for relaying the pain and inflammation signals in the body. Galliprant targets arthritis pain at its source, so your dog can keep moving without aches or swelling. It is conveniently dosed and is given to your dog once a day with either a whole or half tablet. The tablets are chewable and flavored with pork liver. It is labeled for dogs nine months of age or older, that weigh 8 lbs or more. It is currently available in 20mg, 60mg, and 100 mg strengths and comes in 30ct and 90ct bottles.
Does your dog have arthritis? Talk to your veterinarian about Galliprant.
Many dog parents have faced a diagnosis of joint disease in their canine friend, which often leads to lifelong treatment and management. There are several types of joint disease, including osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and dysplasia. Although these are just a few types of joint disease, they affect many dogs. This article discusses osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and dysplasia to help dog parents obtain a well-rounded understanding of the diseases.
Joint Overview Image Courtesy of vetsci.co.uk
Basic anatomy of dog joints:
The place where two bones join together is called a joint and most joints are mobile, or designed to move.
Joints are full of cartilage, which is a protective layer between the two bones. Cartilage functions to reduce the friction between the two bones, protecting them from rubbing together and breaking.
A membrane, called the synovial membrane, covers the bones involved in the joint and secretes fluid. This fluid is called synovial fluid and it functions to lubricate the joint and also reduce friction.
Fluid filled sacs, called bursae, are located in the joint to help cushion it.
Common Joint Disease in Dogs
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease and is caused by degradation of joint cartilage over time. The cartilage production slows down as dogs age, resulting in the loss of the protective layer between the two bones in a joint. This eventually lets the bones to rub against each other, causing pain and inflammation. The bones also lose their shape and are damaged.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is not as common as osteoarthritis in dogs. It is caused by the dog’s immune system attacking the joints. This also causes a loss of cartilage and usually very painful inflammation.
Joints can be formed improperly or incompletely, called dysplasia, which can eventually result in the two bones separating from the joint. Dysplasia in dogs most commonly affects their elbows and hips, and it is believed to be partly caused by genetics.
How to help your dog without medicine:
Keep your dog at healthy weight. Their joints are already working hard and extra weight will only make their condition worse. Have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s weight to see if weight loss is needed. Your dog’s veterinarian will likely be able to help you design a weight loss program.
Feed your dog a healthy diet. Your dog’s veterinarian will be able to suggest diet changes, if needed, to help maintain a healthy weight while providing nutrients your dog’s joints need.
Make your dog’s environment safe and easy on them. When your dog’s joints deteriorate and they experience pain, using stairs and jumping on/off objects can be difficult. Keep your dog’s mobility in mind and moving objects like bowls, beds, and toys can be beneficial.
Exercise your dog as directed by your dog’s veterinarian. Some joint conditions will benefit from exercise and others are worsened. The veterinarian will know if exercise will help your dog’s joint disease and will likely have some great recommendations.
Medications for joint disease in dogs:
Joint supplements provide key nutrients for your dog’s joints. For more information about joint supplements, stay tuned to the VetRxDirect blog because an article will be released soon talking about joint supplements for dogs.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID’s) are prescription medications for dogs that decrease inflammation and pain. Examples include Rimadyl (Carprofen) Meloxidyl (Meloxicam), Etogesic (Etodolac), Feldene (Piroxicam) Deramaxx (Deracoxib), and Previcox (firocoxib). See our blog post “Important Information on NSAID’s for Pets” for more information about NSAID’s for dogs!
Steroids also decrease inflammation and swelling, but to a larger degree than NSAID’s do. With their increased effectiveness, come increased side effects. Usually steroids are given as a last resort or for bad flare ups of joint disease.
Does your dog have any other joint diseases? What other bone and joint supplements or prescription pain relievers have you given your dog? Please share with our pet parent audience by leaving a reply below. Thank you.
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases on the planet, as there are over 100 different forms of it in nearly all vertebrates. (Even the dinosaurs had it!) Although more prevalent in the elderly, animals of any age can suffer from this degenerative disorder that attacks the joints. This includes our pets. A significant number of cats and dogs are afflicted with arthritis. Because they are generally larger, dogs are more likely to be diagnosed than cats.
What is osteoarthritis?
The most common form of the condition, osteoarthritis strikes one in five dogs during their lifetime. While older pouches are disproportionately affected, it is not at all uncommon for a younger dog to develop the disorder if he has a preexisting condition. This includes joint trauma, patella luxation, ruptured ligaments, hip dysplasia, and other issues that affect the joints and can precipitate degenerative arthritis.
Because they are heavier, large-breed dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis than small dogs. Overweight and obese dogs of any size are also at an elevated risk of the disease, since the extra weight puts added stress and strain on their joints.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Pets
Like other degenerative diseases, osteoarthritis tends to get worse with age. Dogs with the disorder suffer varying degrees of joint pain, stiffness, and lameness that is generally more severe during the early morning hours or after arising from a nap. Cold and damp weather can also exacerbate the symptoms, making it painful for your pet to perambulate. As a result, dogs with the disease may experience behavioral changes such as increased irritability and anger. Depression is another symptom animals immobilized by arthritis may suffer from.
Causes of Osteoarthritis in Pets
The primary cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. But as we mentioned, we do know that secondary causes like trauma and birth defects can expedite joint degeneration in dogs of any age. Obesity can also exacerbate preexisting conditions, causing further complications.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in Pets
The only surefire way to diagnose the disorder is with x-rays. Your dog’s doctor will then examine the areas around the joint for bone spurs where the ligaments attach to the bone. In most cases of advanced osteoarthritis, narrowing joint space and greater bone density around the joint are apparent on x-rays.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Pets
There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, which is why treatment is limited to pain management. The goal is to alleviate the most uncomfortable and aggressive symptoms of the disorder, thereby improving your dog’s quality of life. A combination of physical therapy, weight control, and certain corticosteroids and analgesics can work wonders for most pets. Not only should they relieve pain, but these treatments may also improve limb function. There is even evidence that some medications can help repair joint cartilage and prevent further injury.
Another treatment method that some dog owners swear by is acupuncture. Just as it does in human subjects, the therapy may help relieve joint stiffness and pain, at least temporarily. So if you pet doesn’t mind being poked and pressed, acupuncture is an option.
As for physical therapy, studies have shown that moderate exercise is beneficial. Regular activity helps arthritic dogs maintain muscle mass and improve joint flexibility. Extreme exercise, however, can be harmful. Running, jumping, and standing on their hind legs are activities that can easily exacerbate osteoarthritis. It is for this reason that dogs with lameness or mobility issues should only ever be exercised on a leash.
Management of Osteoarthritis in Pets
If your furry friend is overweight or obese, he really must lose weight. Being heavy further complicates any treatment plan for osteoarthritis. Not only does it intensify the symptoms, it makes it less likely that your animal will be up for exercise. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a diet plan for your dog. Take it slow and make sure your pet is getting enough to eat. But don’t let him snack in between meals and stop feeding him from the table! Keep in mind that being overweight can lead to other diseases for your pooch, including diabetes.
Painful arthritis flare-ups can often be managed with anti-inflammatory drugs. You can also use cold and heat therapy to reduce joint swelling and pain. A heating pad on a cold days should do the trick and help reduce stiffness. There are also a number of effective supplements that are sold over the counter.
Phycox Joint Support for Dogs
A safe and natural nutritional supplement, Phycox promotes bone health and joint mobility in dogs. Available in three formulations—small bites, granules, and soft chewables—the supplement contains phycocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory, as well as healthy antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. Although it a non-prescription medication, you should consult your dog’s doctor before administering Phycox. Also be sure to select the right dosage size based on your pet’s weight. To read about other options, check out our post How to Control Arthritis Pain in Dogs.
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According to a recent study, more than two-thirds of the people suffering from some form of arthritis are over the age of 65. In other words, arthritis is predominately a gerontic disease, or one that affects the elderly disproportionately. But even this definition is inadequate. The fact is just about every active species on Earth suffers from the disorder. Paleontologists have discovered evidence of osteoarthritis, the most common type of the disease, in dinosaurs. Homo sapiens have been documenting cases of arthritis for nearly seven thousand years now. How about our furry friends?
Because they cannot complain about their pain, cases of feline and canine arthritis have gone untreated since prehistory. There is little doubt dogs and cats have been suffering from the disease since they were first brought into human settlements. Because they are bigger and they age at a slightly faster rate, canines are more likely to be diagnosed with arthritis than their feline counterparts. According to some estimates, about twenty percent of adult dogs suffer from some form of the disease.
The most common cause of chronic arthritis in dogs is inflammation, which is caused by infection or biomechanics and is almost always degenerative, i.e., it gets worse over time. In most cases, pain and discomfort occur because there is not enough cartilage surrounding and protecting the moving joints. When these sensitive, connective, and unprotected bones rub together, the patient invariably experiences discomfort or even acute pain.
Most of dogs diagnosed with arthritis have osteoarthritis, which is often purely mechanical. Degraded and deteriorating joints cause pain because of cartilage loss, and the patient simply cannot move around like he/she used to. Natural consequences of decreased physical activity include weight gain, lethargy, chronic muscle injuries, and depression. Yes, your pet dog can become depressed if unable to enjoy an active lifestyle.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
An animal with arthritis will find it more difficult to perform almost every activity, from running and jumping to walking up the stairs or even sitting and standing. Anything putting additional pressure on joints will hurt and thusly will be avoided as the disease progresses. Fortunately, the chronic condition can be treated, but not cured. Just like their people, pets respond to pain-relieving drugs known as analgesics. Depending on the degree of degeneration, your dog’s doctor may prescribe a number of medications designed to increase comfortable and manage pain in your dog. These tablets and pills are more than mere stopgap solutions, they can actually help him recover and build up his strength a bit.
Novox (carprofen) Caplets:A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory prescription medication, Novox (carprofen) helps relieve pain and inflammation in dogs suffering from chronic arthritis. Lab tests and studies have returned mostly positive results and few negative side effects. The most common corollary is a simple stomach ache that may eventually lead to ulcers. It is for this reason that the medication should always be given with your pet’s favorite food. Dog lovers should do their best to administer Novox (carprofen) caplets once a day at the same time each day, which may greatly reduce the risk of potential side effects.
ArthriEase-GOLD:A popular supplement with humans, glucosamine, one of the primary ingredients in ArthriEase-GOLD, helps promote joint tissue health. This product also includes chondroitin sulfate used to improving symptoms of arthritis, hyaluronic acid which acts like a cushion and lubricant for joints, and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) used to help control pain.
Once again, most forms of arthritis are degenerative. They will get worse over time. But with the right prescription medications and supplements, it is possible to alleviate joint and muscle pain in our pets. Affordable and relatively easy to administer, all of the medications we discussed today may improve the quality of your dog’s life and allow your pet to live out the remaining years in fine fettle.
Whether they walk on two legs or four, the larger an animal is, the more likely it is to have problems with its joints and the skin covering over the joints. Although infections, allergic reactions, and illnesses can cause joint pain, or arthralgia, the most common cause of the often chronic condition is injury. Because they are heavier and put more weight and pressure on their joints and pressure points on the skin over the joints, larger dogs generally have more joint and skin pressure point problems, especially as they age.
What are Elbow Hygromas in Dogs?
Prime candidates for the condition are big dogs with short hair. Typically caused by trauma, it is often the result of dogs repeatedly smacking their elbows on hard surfaces, such as the floor. The soft tissue of the point of the elbow, or olecranon process, will slowly begin to break down over time. Calluses often form in this area to protect the bony prominence from trauma, but it may not be enough. The inflammation caused by repeated injury can cause pockets of fluid to form around the elbows.
Veterinarians generally separate these hygromas into two categories—complicated and uncomplicated. An uncomplicated hygroma is seldom painful and can generally be resolved without immediate medical attention. More often than not, the problem is purely cosmetic and can be addressed by simply buying your dog a bed. Without the trauma -of sleeping on the floor and banging of the elbows, the hygroma should disappear within a few weeks. Special bandages and pads may shorten recovery times.
The Complicated Hygroma in Dogs
If the injury becomes infected, surgical drainage may be the only way to treat it. Distinguishing between a complicated and uncomplicated hygroma is a job best left to a veterinarian. Because both look more or less the same, a veterinarian must determine if the hygroma must be drained. Failure to treat the infection could result in a whole host of future health issues for your canine friend.
Even More Complicated Hygroma in Dogs
In rare cases, ulcerated hygromas must be drained and the calluses covering the area may have to be removed. This occurs because chronic drainage will damage the skin and special skin flaps, even grafts may be needed to reconstruct the area in order to protect them from future infections. This is considered major surgery, and while not especially dangerous, it will take your pouch at least a month to completely recover. Your dog may need to wear a splint and the affected leg should be immobilized during healing.
Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs
Whether your dog was treated for complicated or uncomplicated elbow hygromas, it is often a good idea to guard these sensitive areas with a product that is specifically designed to cover and protect them from future damage during the recovery process. DogLeggs can help dogs who recently underwent draining or surgery of the joint and need a garment to provide protection and comfort without inhibiting mobility.
Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs Available at VetRxDirect
Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs provide coverage and protection of the elbow joint and is primarily used to treat and prevent hygromas. With proper use, DogLeggs can help reduce the size and severity of hygromas, often times without surgery.
Although these adjustable pads are designed for dogs who are dealing with elbow hygromas, they can also be used by pets that suffer from other joint issues, such as arthritis. The pads are comfortable and adjustable and fit canines of almost any size. Standard Length DogLeggs are made in sizes for three-pound Chihuahuas and others made for enormous English Mastiffs that weight up to 230 pounds.
Other Uses of Standard Length Adjustable DogLeggs
DogLeggs can help prevent and treat any of the following conditions: hygroma, decubital ulcer, pressure sores, pendulous callus, wounds, elbow dysplasia, lick granuloma, and osteoarthritis. Dog owners should be sure to consult their veterinarians before they use the garment if their pet suffers from severe skin allergies, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, or has a compromised auto-immune system. The product may not be safe because it can have a slight impact on circulation, which will not harm or in any way affect otherwise healthy animals.
How to Measure Standard Length DogLeggs for Best Fit
Even though it is adjustable, the standard size DogLeggs garment will not fit pooches of every size. If your canine friend is much bigger or smaller than the average dog, you may need to order a custom size. For example, toy poodles and St. Bernards simply will not fit into common sizes. Please note that it may take several weeks to process and ship custom sizes and they may not be eligible for refunds in the event of a return.
As a result, make sure that you measure your dog at the three points of adjustment: around the leg at the elbow, around the leg below the elbow, and over the back. Directions and pictures on how to properly measure your dog are included on the DogLeggs product page at VetRxDirect.