Canine arthritis, get relief for your dog

Arthritis is probably the most common serious condition affecting dogs (about one in four or five) and one of the most difficult to treat. Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for arthritis – in dogs or humans! Numerous tests and clinical trials have been carried out but with no cure at present. So, beware anyone who claims to have a “Cure”.

However, there are various remedies available which can give some relief, to a greater or lesser extent .. as can be seen by the large number of products on offer. There is a problem in that many of the remedies available carry some sort of disadvantage, particularly regarding some of the anti-inflammatory drugs currently in use.

These are some of the Dangers:

Look at any forum or message board on this subject and Rimadyl and Carprofen are mentioned frequently, in a negative context. Serious side effects are worryingly frequent and in some cases can be fatal.

The website of The US Food and Drug Administration states…

“Today, a new generation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is bringing relief to millions of dogs with joint problems or with pain after surgery.

“NSAIDs are extremely effective for controlling pain and inflammation in dogs,” says Stephen F. Sundlof, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “These are very valuable drugs that help many pets live to a ripe old age.”

But like any drugs, NSAIDs carry a risk of side effects, or adverse reactions. Most adverse reactions are mild, but some may be serious, especially if the drugs are not used according to labeled directions. Some reactions result in permanent damage or even death.

“It’s important for pet owners to be aware of the risks and benefits of all drugs, including NSAIDs, so that they can make informed decisions about their pets’ health care,” says Sundlof. “Owners who give their dog NSAIDs need to know the side effects to watch for that indicate their pet needs medical attention.”

“The most common side effects from NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) include vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, and diarrhoea. Serious side effects include gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, perforations, kidney damage, and liver problems.”

“The side effects of NSAIDs are very well known and very well documented,” says Michele Sharkey, D.V.M., in the CVM’s Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation. But this information is not always getting to the pet owner, she says. “If the pet owner can recognize a possible reaction, stop the medication, and get veterinary help, it could mean the difference between a good outcome and a disaster.”

There is some evidence that not all vets are aware of the potential problems with these drugs and are not able to recognize the symptoms of adverse reactions and side effects.

Treatments such as oils and creams, applied externally, which are sometimes effective with humans are much more difficult to apply to dogs, especially if the coat is thick. Various other alternatives to anti-inflammatory drugs are on the market, including drinks and “natural” ingredients.

Glucosamine is a very popular ingredient, sometimes included with chondroitin. I know many aged golfers who swear by it!

A company called Maxavita claims that its product, called Pernamax, which comes in the form of caplets or gel, is 200 times stronger than glucosamine. It includes the powdered extract of the New Zealand Green Lipped mussel.

None of these remedies are cheap and all involve a continuing cost, which over a year can be very substantial, especially if there is a need for the vet’s involvement.

Magnotherapy can be a simple and effective alternative. It has had continuing success with humans and animals and in the UK alone, over 2 million people have had relief, ranging from the mild to the “miraculous”.

In some quarters, this treatment is derided as being “all in the mind”, possibly because people cannot believe that something as simple and easy as a special magnetic collar or sleeping pad can bring such relief to animals.

However, there is considerable scientific proof that the beneficial effects of this Magnetic Therapy are not just due to a placebo effect.