Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is a bone and joint disease that can attack both humans and their dogs. Just like people, as dogs get older they are susceptible to developing this sometimes crippling condition. How do you know if your dog has arthritis or some other problem? If your dog is getting older and starts having problems walking or getting up after a long nap or perhaps he is limping and is slower to come when you call him. If he doesn’t want to go up or down stairs or has trouble jumping up into your car or truck, then it’s possible he has arthritis.
Your veterinarian can do an exam to confirm this diagnosis. They will check things like if the dogs legs are swollen, if the dog can flex his limbs or if there is pain when he does. He may also do an x-ray to check for bone spurs or other issues or check for fluid around the bones using a joint tap.
If your dog is found to have arthritis, there are treatments that can help your furry friend to feel better. First, don’t try to give your pet human medications for arthritis; you could accidentally poison him instead of helping him. Aspirin is no longer recommended as this is hard on a dog’s stomach and causes cartilage to break down and there are better and more specific medications now for dogs with arthritis.
There are prescription anti-inflammatory medications you can get from your vet to help your dog with the pain of arthritis. You have to watch for side effects like stomach or liver, so your dog may need a blood test every so often to check his organs out. Steroids are also given in low doses to treat arthritic dogs.
Some pet owners prefer more natural products to help their dog’s arthritis. There are herbal treatments such as glucosamine condrotin that your vet can recommend the proper dose for your pet, as well as a new arthritis medicine for dogs called Vitaline SAMe that you can talk to your vet about as well.
Exercise in moderation is also beneficial for arthritic dogs and there are even physical therapists for dogs that you can employ to design a program to help your dog cope with this condition. Another thing you can do is make sure that your dog stays at their optimum weight standard, as overweight pets are more prone to arthritis.
All in all, there are several things you can do to help your dog with the pain and discomfort of arthritis. Work with your vet to come up with a plan to help your dog live with arthritis.