Arthritis is simply inflammation of the joints.
Osteoarthritis is debilitating changes to the surface of the joint where cartilage is damaged and replaced with fibrocartilage and further degeneration leads to bony deposition. This leads to roughened surfaces which are painful and cause further irritation to the surface of the joint. The surface of the cartilage gets worn down, the joint capsule swells with inflammation and the tissues around the joint become painful. Once these degenerative changes are in place, there is no cure. The problem can be managed with various treatments for pain and inflammation. However, prevention is better than cure
How Can We Prevent Osteoarthritis?
1. Weight Management:
Being overweight leads to degenerative joint disease in weight bearing joints, particularly the elbows, stifle and hips. Your dog must not get fat. 50% of the dogs that come into our clinic are too fat. Excess weight leads to cartilage damage and the vicious cycle of inflammation and degenerative joint disease.
2. Prevention of poor breeding practices.
There are still far too many breeders breeding genetic faults in pure bred dogs. Breeds such as the German Shepherd, Rottweiler and Labrador are household names. Unfortunately, hip and elbow dysplasia are still common in these breeds. Reputable breeders will have their breeding animals hip scored. Don’t buy a dog from a breeder that has not had the animal hip scored. There is also a growing popularity for a new hip screening technique called the Penn hip scoring system. The radiographs are taken in a different position to highlight any joint laxity (looseness) that can cause osteoarthritis by uneven wear of cartilage in the joint. Ask us about Penn hip scoring.
3. Early Detection of Osteoarthritis (OA)
Many people do not recognise the symptoms of Osteoarthritis and assume the dog is just getting old. Does your dog have any of these symptoms?
- Reluctance to go up or down stairs
- Difficulty jumping into the car or on furniture
- Lagging behind or tiring easily during walks
- Increased stiffness, particularly after resting
- Limping after strenuous exercise
- Difficulty in rising, sitting or squatting to urinate
- Prefers lying to sitting or standing
- Restlessness or insomnia
- Whimpering, growling or snapping when touched
- Licking joints
If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should consider starting treatment for osteoarthritis.
Nutraceuticals: the effectiveness of these drugs is very controversial. It is possible that they have some effect on minimising damage to articular cartilage and helping repair cartilage by preventing it from drying out. Glyde is the only daily osteoarthritis treatment that combines a validated therapeutic dose of Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and Eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA), a potent natural anti-inflammatory.
Disease modifying drugs
Zydax is a new generation of treatment for osteoarthritis. It helps treat and prevent arthritis. We use it after joint surgery to help prevent arthritis and in dogs with genetic diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia. It is also helpful in managing animals with Osteoarthritis.
- stimulates cartilage producing cells to produce new cartilage
- slows cartilage destruction from enzymes produced in inflammation
- stimulates synovial cells to produce lubricating joint fluid
- helps prevent inflammation
- improves blood flow and nutrition to joint tissues
Zydax is given in a course of 4 injections; one injection a week for 4 weeks. This is repeated every 3 months. Research has proven the benefits of these drugs are from regular use and an accumulative effect.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain and inflammation. These drugs are the mainstay of treatment. They work and the results are obvious to animals suffering in pain.
We use and recommend Previcox. It is a new generation non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is safer for your pet’s liver, kidneys and GI tract. Older non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could cause liver and kidney problems and ulceration of the gastrointestinal system.
Despite the high safety of Previcox, we would like to know the health of your pet’s liver and kidneys before starting treatment. This can be done with a simple blood test. We will recommend your pet is tested every 6 months if long term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs treatment is required.
Tramadol is an opioid-like drug which your vet may prescribe for very advanced OA where your pet is in severe debilitating pain. It is a strong pain killing drug.
Bedding: soft bedding close to the ground is very helpful for managing your pet’s joint pain. A warm bed is also very helpful if this is at all practical.
Stem Cell Therapy is another option available.
The Adipose Stem Cell Procedure can be a very viable alternative to:
- Drugs for long term pain management for arthritis
- Some orthopaedic procedures
This procedure is non-controversial as no embryonic cells are used, only cells obtained from your animal’s own fat tissue.
There are many benefits of MediVet’s Stem Cell Therapy
- Same Day Procedure at Australind Veterinary Animal Hospital
- Extremely High Stem Cell Count
- Benefits Old / New Injuries
- Improved Quality of Life
- Very Safe and Drug Free
- Patented L.E.D. Cell Activation
- Quicker Recovery Time
- Suitable for Dogs and Cats