Have you noticed a decrease in your pet’s energy level as they get older? Maybe they aren’t following you around the house as much, or not as playful as they used to be? Especially as your dog or cat ages, it’s important to pay close attention to his or her movements – or lack of them. An older pet that demonstrates a lowered activity level, stiffness, or reluctance to play or walk, may be suffering from arthritis. Arthritis is a degenerative joint condition where the joints wear down and cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Here are some common signs of arthritis in dogs and cats:
Trouble standing or sitting
Limping or favoring a leg
Moving with stiffness or seemingly sore joints
Lower activity levels or tire more easily
Unwillingness to climb stairs, run, jump, or play
Working and active dogs tend to put more stress on their joints. Both young and older cats can experience arthritic changes. Breed and genetics also play a role. If you notice your dog or cat slowing down, showing signs of pain, or losing interest in physical activity, it may be time to talk with your veterinarian. If diagnosed and caught in the early stages, your veterinarian may suggest a supplement or pain reliever to help ease some of their symptoms.
What is Dasuquin?
Dasuquin is a comprehensive joint supplement for dogs and cats. It helps support joint function and mobility, encourage cartilage and tissue repair, reduce breakdown. For active and aging dogs and cats, it may reduce discomfort caused by daily activity, and help encourage mobility. Dasuquin contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and avocado/soybean powder for optimal joint nutrition. The Dasuquin dog formula is available in flavored soft chews and chewable tablets.
Dasuquin For Cats
Dasuquin flavored sprinkle capsules are designed just for cats. As cats age, it is common for cartilage and tissue to start wearing out and joints to become less flexible. It may help reverse the process of cartilage breakdown, and support bladder health.
Dasuquin with MSM
Dasuquin with MSM for dogs features the same joint nourishing ingredients from Dasuquin, but contains methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and green tea extract. MSM is included as a source of sulfur, a compound used by cartilage. Available in soft chews and chewable tablets.
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.
Limited Time Sale on Phycox Soft Chews at VetRxDirect!
Save big on Phycox Soft Chews! On sale for a limited time at VetRxDirect.com. Purchase the 120 count bottle + 10 count bottle for only $44.99 after coupon + FREE, Fast Same-Day Shipping & Handling!
Use coupon code PHYCOX130 during checkout.*
Like humans, dogs can have inflamed, painful joints caused by the wear and tear of daily life. Phycox’s proven joint support and inflammation/discomfort relieving supplements combines high-quality Glucosamine, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for fast acting results.
Reduces inflammation and discomfort due to normal daily activity
Contains the natural inflammatory phycocyanin
Provides beneficial antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids
*Coupon expires 10/31/13 or while supplies last, whichever comes first. Limit one per customer. Customers must be signed into an account at VetRxDirect.com to validate one-time use coupons. Coupons cannot be combined or used with any other discount or offer. Coupons are not valid on telephone orders and cannot be applied to previous orders.
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.