I'm at the age where I'm starting to get those aches and pains that come with getting older. My people have started leaving me at home when they go for walks because I limp and I'm a little stiff afterwards. They have even stopped throwing the ball for me. I really miss those activities. I see other dogs my age and size doing those things. Are there any supplements or medications my people can give me so I can still do all of my favorite activities?
Much Too Young To Feel This Darn Old in Pueblo West
Dear Young at Heart,
I know how you feel—I've have had two knee surgeries and have arthritis in my hips.
There are a lot of options that may help you feel better. Have your family make an appointment so the doctors can evaluate you and discuss what is best for you and your family, but here is a brief overview.
Supplements can improve your movement by promoting cartilage health, such as Dasuquin or Adequan, and natural anti-inflammatories, such as Duralactin may help.
Generally, arthritis causes pain and inflammation, so the doctor may consider a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). They are similar to human arthritis medications, although they are meant for dogs. Examples include Rimadyl, Meloxicam, and aspirin. While they have great benefits, they can affect the liver, kidneys, and GI tract, so bloodwork is done every six months to make sure everything is okay.
Sometimes you just may need pain control and there are several options depending on your needs. Possibilities include tramadol, gabapentin, and amantadine.
Acupuncture and physical therapy have been proven to help with pain and are good to consider if medication is not a good option. Acupuncture has greatly helped me in the past.
The most important aspect of arthritis control is weight loss if you are overweight. Even losing just a few pounds can make a big difference in how your joints feel and increase your mobility. Take it from me—after losing 5 lbs, I can now climb the stairs rather than my mom having to carry me.
As you can see, there are lots of options to address your arthritis and several can be combined to meet your needs. Talk to the doctor about what is best for you!
On a side note, cats, as usual, like to be special and cannot tolerate many of the medications that dogs can. Do NOT give your cat any medications without talking to the doctor.
With All Best Wishes,