Arthritis is a common condition in dogs and cats. It is a disease that evolves over time and that unfortunately cannot be cured. It requires a great involvement of the owners because many treatments are often necessary to relieve the animal. These different treatments evolve over time.
Osteoarthritis is due to the progressive and irreversible destruction of cartilage. It is a common condition in dogs and cats, especially in older animals.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that cannot be cured and is quite difficult to manage. It generally requires the implementation of several treatments and actions over the long term. These will evolve over time, so it is important to have regular follow-ups with the veterinarian.
The treatment depends on the stage of the disease and the underlying cause. The objective of the treatments is to increase the animal's comfort and slow down the evolution of the disease. Here are the different points on which the management of arthrosis is based:
Understanding the disease
It is very important that owners understand this disease and be involved in the proper management of arthritis.
In addition to veterinary prescription medications, there are alternative medicines, environmental and activity modifications, and dietary supplements that can be helpful in improving the pet's comfort and reducing the need for medication.
Owners should be aware of the signs of pain in their pet (e.g. reluctance to move) that should lead to veterinary consultation.
There are activity collars that provide very useful information on the activity and comfort of dogs. They are very useful for veterinarians to see if there is an improvement in the animal's activity following the implementation of a treatment.
It is very important to monitor the weight of dogs with osteoarthritis. Indeed, excess weight increases pain and lameness.
For overweight animals, a diet is strongly recommended. It is important to weigh your pet regularly to monitor weight changes.
Food and supplements
There are therapeutic foods available on veterinary prescription that are specially designed for dogs with arthritis.
It is also possible to give the animal a food supplement containing preferably omega-3 fatty acids, whose clinical effectiveness has been proven.
Collar with essential oils
There is the Yoos collar for joint comfort which aims to improve the comfort of the animal. It is composed of essential oils that are diffused gradually. It contains essential oil of Gaultheria which degrades into a molecule similar to aspirin. This molecule is natural, there is a considerable reduction of the risk of side effects related to this molecule compared to aspirin which is synthesized.
Warning: this collar is only suitable for dogs. Do not use it for cats.
Changes in the environment and physical activity
Adaptations must be made at home, including a comfortable bed to relieve the animal's joints when resting. There are memory cushions that are very useful for dogs with arthritis.
It may also be necessary to provide mats to prevent the dog from slipping both inside and outside the house.
It is also important to adjust the animal's level of exercise and avoid certain games that can be traumatic to the joints. Since dogs need to work on their cognitive functions as well as exercise, this can be an opportunity to occupy your dog differently: hide the ball instead of throwing it to him for example, install educational toys, etc...
It is sometimes necessary to intervene surgically. The installation of a hip prosthesis generally allows the disappearance of the symptoms.
Sometimes, the affected cartilage is removed or the joint is "welded" (arthrodesis) to increase the animal's comfort.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very useful for osteoarthritis pain. Contrary to popular belief, these medications are generally safe to use with few side effects. The duration of treatment depends on the severity of the pain.
Corticosteroids are used less frequently, as their side effects are too strong in the medium term. Other drugs can be used by veterinarians (injectable morphine for example).
It is also possible to make intra-articular injections of platelet-rich plasma. This has many growth factors in it that help to limit the reduction of inflammation. The protocol consists of two injections one month apart followed by a booster 6 to 8 months later.
Intra-cellular injections of stem cells are also possible and their action is probably based on the fact that they secrete cytokines and anti-inflammatory factors.
Finally, a drug containing monoclonal antibodies will soon be available. This drug has the advantage of acting in a targeted manner, is non-toxic and is expected to be long-lasting.
Physiotherapy can be performed to improve the animal's comfort:
- Massages performed at home after being shown by a veterinarian or in a physiotherapy center
- Balneotherapy, which allows the animal's muscles to be strengthened and its joints to remain active
- Laser: it has anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, relaxing and healing effects
Acupuncture can also be tried to improve the dog's comfort.