What Can I Do to Help My Dog with Arthritis?
So what can you do to help your dog with arthritis? Lots. So, stay tuned. First of all, I want you to get a diagnosis. So as your vet, I want to make sure that we're treating the right disease. There's a real tendency for people to assume that the dog is stiff. If they're slowing down, it must be arthritis. Well, actually not. There are many, many other diseases that show the same clinical science and some can be so far from arthritis, such as kidney problems, liver problems, splenic problems, you name it, I've seen it. And they've come in to visit me, stiff, getting old, he must have arthritis. So get a diagnosis, go to your vet, make sure that you're dealing with the right thing.
Manage their Weight
Next thing. And the most important of them all is get your dog's weight right. Too much weight on those joints are going to be a mechanical force, which isn't going to be good for those painful joints, but it's also going to be an inflammatory input. So if you've got a painful joint, just imagine someone putting petrol on it, and making it worse, that's what fat does. So you want to get your dog the right weight.
Next thing is, you've got to look at your dog's lifestyle. All of these things tend to get lost with the whole vet process of getting on medication and doing stuff, get your lifestyle right. So that means stop the ball, stop the Frisbee, stop them jumping in and out of the big back of your 4X4, be careful about slippery floors. Be careful about staircases, get the foundations in place. I promise you I've had many dogs that have been on quite high levels of medication. Then, we've done those lifestyle things and we've come off the drugs. So get that stuff right.
Understanding and managing their pain level
But with your vet, you need to start looking at how painful your dog. Some dogs with early arthritis, it might be just mild pain, and they might be able to actually put up with it and you can still do your foundations. However, for other dogs, it might be really, really painful and they need medication so that they can start using that joint again. And they can start building up some strength and some stamina, get using that leg, get using that backend and start using their body appropriately. So medication might be required as well.
On top of that, you can add different therapies. There's physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, that's working water, there's laser therapy, there's acupuncture. There are many, many things that we get at. So, go to speak to your vet and see what's available to you.
For additional information about canine arthritis, check out Dr. Capon's work at Canine Arthritis Management.
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