Updated: Sep 5, 2019
Do you know if your pet is in pain? Our pets cannot talk to us so it is our job to watch them closely for signs of discomfort: slowing down, sleeping more, restlessness, difficulty rising, hiding, behavior changes, poor appetite. Sometimes you don’t see anything specific but know that something isn’t right. Don’t wait. Call us right away so we can help.
#1 Keep your Pet's weight down. The more weight gain that your pet has the more likely that your pet will have joint pain! Weight causes the pet to slow and not be as active, thus the joints will stiffen from non-use. Having that extra weight on the joints when the pet is in motion will also cause pain and damage in the long run. Keeping your pet at his IDEAL weight is imperative to a happy pain-free life. (Talk with your Vet to see what your pet's ideal weight is next time you are in for an Exam.
#2 Canine Joint Supplements. Osteoarthritis, (OA) is a progressive deterioration of joint cartilage, which leads to abnormalities in other joint tissues and causes joint pain and disuse. NSAIDS reduce inflammation, relieve pain and are the first line of treatment for OA and for flare-ups. Long-term use can however cause side effects, (such as stomach, liver and kidney issues.)
Prevention is key in minimizing and slowing the start and/or progression of OA. Oral joint supplements can help via multiple mechanisms.
There are three key players for OA in dogs that help support and protect joint cartilage:
*Low-molecular weight chrondroitin sulfate
*Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6.
Additional supplements can be added to complete the beneficial effects of the 3 key supplements, which include:
*Avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU)
*Green tea extract
*Boswellia serrata extract
*Curcumin (from the spice turmeric found in curry powder)
WHEN TO START:
If there is concern that your dog might develop OA, (Keeping in mind it is as common in our canine companions as it is in humans), studies show that dogs receiving supplements from a young age had less inflammation and lameness. Therefore, it makes sense to begin giving dogs both a glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate supplement and an Omega 3/6 fatty acid after the age of 6 months. This is especially true in pets that are going to be very active, participate in sports or be a working dog.
Oral joint supplements are considered neutraceuticals, (foods that provide health benefits), notpharmaceuticals (medicinal drugs). There is minimal Federal regulations on supplements' production and manufacturing. Many Companies are not meeting the claims made on their product labels. It is important to talk with your Veterinarian to ensure your dog receives the most effective product available. At Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic we only use joint supplements products that are from a reputable company in which ingredient purity and the health claims have been verified.
Thank you to Dr. Angela Marthaler for this article.
Thank you to Dr. Alex for the great video explaining the symptoms of pain.