How to Treat Canine Arthritis
Okay. So how do we treat canine arthritis? Well, that is a big question. There are many, many things we can do. So it's actually quite exciting. You've got a brilliant pathway ahead of you, of many choices, many interventions. Something very, very close to my heart is making sure we get the foundations right first.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
And that is making sure your dog is the right body weight. So making sure that your dog is a body condition score around about four to five out of nine, and I'll explain that later, is really, really imperative in pain control and slowing down the disease. So really, really do not overlook the weight of your dog.
Modifying their Lifestyle
The second thing that's really important to me, is making sure their lifestyle is right for their disease. If you had a painful hip, you would think about changing your activity, your bed, the way that you drive, all of these things would be naturally what you would do to make yourself more comfortable and to not make it worse, but the same applies for our dogs. So you need to look at what lifestyle they have. If they have got arthritis, and in my opinion, we shouldn't be doing ball games and chases and Frisbees and those high impact, high-velocity games. It puts too much pressure on those joints. We need to think about them jumping in and out of the car. Is it necessary? We have to think about them doing the stairs. Do they do it out of control? Are they coming down like a bullet? What's the bedding like? Is it comfortable? Are they going to get a good, comfortable night's sleep? What's your flooring like? That's a big pet hate of mine. Slippery floors and arthritic dogs just do not go together. Get the foundations right.
Using Medication to Manage Pain
Generally, when we vets see these cases, those dogs are already pretty painful. And I've said before his pain, hasn't just appeared overnight, it's developed over months, if not years. So medication is more than likely going to be required, but it's not forever. And that's something that people get confused about. Your vet might put you onto an anti-inflammatory in the beginning to control the pain, but it doesn't mean forever. It's giving you a window of opportunity to get the foundations right. Once those foundations are right, then potentially you come off that pain medication. If the pain is still not controlled, they might use other medications to make sure they get on top of that. You can add to your clinical picture, supplements and diets. There's many out there, and we'll come back to that later. But there are also further interventions that your vet can help you out with.
Consider a Multi-Modal Approach
We've got many, many new modalities coming into what we can offer you. There might be laser, there might be shockwave therapy, there might be STEM cells, PRP. There might be hydrotherapy, massage, physiotherapy. There are lots and lots of things that we know can really, really help these arthritic dogs. So, how do we treat arthritis? Many, many ways. And what you need to do is build a rapport with your vet and they can help you find the one that suits you.
For additional information about canine arthritis, check out Dr. Capon's work at Canine Arthritis Management.
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