I thought I'd start a bit of a thread to share what I've learned on dealing with arthritis with my dog, Oscar.
Oscar was diagnosed with arthritis about 2 years ago when he began to have this unlocalized lameness, it would sort of come and go, and it was even hard for me to tell wich front leg he was lame on; turned out after xrays and having them examined by a specialist that he was diagnosed with Hip displasia (it was suggested that I xray his hips, as well, although they did not appear to be bothering him), osteoarthritis in both front elbows, and biceps tendonitis in both front shoulders from altering his gait from the Hip Displasia and arthritis.
It was definitely a bit upsetting.
At this stage I had a Tech. friend come and teach me some massage and doggy physio therapy. I had to control how he walked and his exercise, period. He needed rest to calm down his tendons; I would literally walk him at a slow steady pace in circles on the lawn 3 times a day for a least a month, the idea was to teach him to walk a bit differently. After that, we started going for swims, I tried to keep him in the water, as it was better if he wasn't running aroud quickly like a mad man on land. Eventually, we worked back into a more normal exercise schedule. I also put him on Cartrophen injections, wich help lubricate and thicken the fluid in the joints and do the same for the tendons, in effect, it would be like beefing up the suspension in a car. I also started him on a Glucosamine supplement called Cosequin DS and got something for pain control; traditionally, pain control for arthritis and tendonitis would be an anti-inflammatory, but these are NSAIDs http://www.fda.gov/cvm/nsaids.htm
, and because Oscar takes small amounts of steroids for a non-related condition NSAIDS would be absolutely contraindicated; so, he had to take something to simply control the pain as needed. He was already taking fish oil supplements, so at least we had that covered
The tricky thing about Oscar's situation is that arthritis calls for moderate amounts of light low impact exercise, and the tendonitis called for pretty much total rest.
More recently, both the vet and I have noted changes in his hind end; some muscle atrophy, and just a bit of a general weakness all around. He has always been a bit of a clutz, but maybe a bit more clutzy?
I was reminded this week that my dog is close to 65 in people years and that fetch might be dangerous for him, so we've been limited to only a few throws
We have been told, however, that we are allowed to walk and swim as much as we want, so I am currently looking into a custom Wetsuit for Oscar so he can swim all year around
Supplements wich may help alleviate the affects and pain of arthritis(note that supplements should have a guaranteed amount, as many are unregulated and vary in potency from one dose to the next)
Medications to help reduce the effects :
Cartrophen (different name in the USA) injectable. This is by FAR one of the most effective meds I have heard of, I've heard it can literally "make an old dog act like a puppy again".
NSAIDS to help with pain caused by inflammation:
exercising a dog with arthritis : make it easy! flat, firm ground. Avoid things like sandy beaches (its HARD to walk on the sand!), and try to avoid hard impact activities (like fetch), also try to avoid steep or difficult terrain; and of course, moderation! But continuing the activity is the key, for arthritis as well as battling old age.
I can only please one person per day. Today is not your day, tomorrow doesn't look good either.
"You didn't know of the magical powers of the break stick? It's up there with genies and Harry Potter as far as magic levels go." SisMorphine 01/07/07