Osteoarthritis is a common condition in dogs and cats. It is a disease which evolves over time and which unfortunately cannot be cured. It requires a great deal of involvement from 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 disease chronic not curable and quite difficult to take care of. It generally requires the implementation of several treatments and actions over the long term. These will evolve over time, it is important to carry out regular follow-ups at the vet.
Treatment depends on the stage of the disease and the underlying cause. The goal of treatments is toincrease comfort of the animal and slow down the evolution of the disease. Here are the different points on which the management of osteoarthritis is based:
Good “training” for owners
It is very important that homeowners understand this disease and that they are involved for good management of osteoarthritis.
Aside from veterinary prescription drugs, there are alternative medicines, changes in the environment and activity of the animal as well as food supplements which can be useful to improve the comfort of the animal and decrease the use of medication.
The owners must know the signs of pain in their animal (reluctance to move in particular) which must lead to consult a veterinarian.
There are activity necklaces which provide very useful information on dog activity and comfort. They are very useful for veterinarians to see in particular whether there is an improvement in the activity of the animal following the implementation of a treatment.
It is very important to monitor the weight of dogs who have osteoarthritis. In fact, being overweight increases pain and lameness.
For overweight animals, a diet is strongly advised. It is important to weigh your pet regularly to keep track of the weight.
Food and food supplements
There are therapeutic food on veterinary prescription which are specially designed for arthritis dogs.
It is also possible to give the animal a food supplement preferably containing omega-3 fatty acids, the clinical efficacy of which has been proven.
Necklace with essential oils
There is the Yoos collar for joint comfort which aims to improve animal comfort. It is composed of essential oils which are gradually diffused. It contains Gaultheria essential oil which breaks down into a molecule close to aspirin. This molecule is natural, there is a considerable reduction in the risk of side effects linked 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 are to be expected at home, it is especially necessary to provide a comfortable sleeping to relieve the joints of the resting animal. There are memory cushions that are very useful for dogs with arthritis.
It may also be necessary to put on rugs to prevent the dog from slipping inside or outside the home.
It is also important toadapt the exercise level of the animal and avoid certain games that can be traumatic for the joints. Dogs needing to exercise their cognitive functions as well as exercising, this can be an opportunity to occupy their dog differently: hiding their ball rather than throwing it, for example, installing educational toys, etc. …
Sometimes surgery is necessary. The fitting 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 comfort of the animal.
The nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very useful for arthritis pain. Contrary to popular belief, these drugs are generally safe to use with few side effects. The duration of treatment depends on the intensity of the pain.
Corticosteroids are less used, they have particularly important side effects in the medium term.
Other drugs can be used by veterinarians (injectable morphine for example).
lt is also possible to perform intra-articular injections of platelet rich plasma. It has many growth factors in it that help limit the reduction of inflammation. The protocol consists of two injections one month apart followed by a booster 6 to 8 months later.
It is also possible to make intra-cellular injections of stem cells whose action is probably based on the fact that they secrete cytokines and anti-inflammatory factors.
Finally, a medicine containing monoclonal antibodies will be available soon. This drug has the advantage of acting in a targeted manner, it is without toxicity and acts a priori on a long duration.
It is possible to perform physiotherapy to improve the comfort of the animal:
- massages performed at home after being shown by a veterinarian or in a physiotherapy center
- balneotherapy which helps strengthen the animal’s muscles and maintain joint activity
- Laser : it has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, relaxing and healing effects
Acupuncture can also be attempted to improve the comfort of the dog.