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Old Dogs, Arthritis and 3 Simple Rules

If you've brought me an elderly dog to our new Coyote Ridge Veterinary Clinic then you've probably heard this speech before. When I think about how I can help your older dog AND even your older cat get around I start with three simple rules:

1. Weight Management is key. The greatest gift you can give your companion animal is to keep them lean for as long as possible. Obesity is one of the most common medical conditions in companion animals. The longer you keep them at a healthy body condition score, the longer their joints are going to last. This is not easy. From a young age, we make it hard to keep the weight off their bones. Spaying and neutering is definitely necessary, but significantly slows down their metabolism. The new fad in food is "grain free" and I do see higher calorie content in this food. You're substituting calories from carbohydrates for fat. But the nutrition conversation is one for another blog! Maybe next time! ;)

2. Glucosamine support never hurts. If you own an older animal with arthritis or they're starting to slow down or you own a breed that is predisposed to arthritis such as your German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever then you need to be giving them glucosamine supplements. My personal favorite OTC supplement is Dasuquin Advanced with ASU. I give all my dogs this every morning in their food. I buy the flavored tablets as they eat it very well and it saves on the cost compared to the flavored chews. The idea behind this drug is to slow the progression of the arthritic disease, preserve what cartilage is left and help lubricate the joints.

When the oral drugs are not enough, we have an injectable option for dogs and cats called Adequan. It is a wonderful drug and can be a silver bullet for animals with arthritis. You can call in to discuss this one further with me anytime. I love it!

3. Something for the pain. If you have the first two covered and your animal is slow to rise or limps or simply doesn't move as well as they used, these are all signs of pain. When an animal does not use themselves properly it is usually done as an aversion to pain. They are trying to find a comfortable way to get up and get around. Although the first two steps hope to slow arthritis and relieve some discomfort, we often need more help. This is when we discuss anti-inflammatory options like Galliprant, NSAIDs such as Rimadyl, opioids like Simbadol and even new immune mediated pain relief options like Solensia. These drugs are not always innocuous and you need to have a conversation with your vet before starting them. We are very excited about the possibilities of drugs like Solensia for the future of pain relief.

If you have any questions about the above information, please don't hesitate to call our new veterinary clinic near you at 970-663-7387 - we can often get you in for a same day appointment and also offer urgent care when you need us.

We look forward to Welcoming You to The Pack.


Dr. Nick

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