Darnell was a sad little dog whose luck had run out. He had no idea what he had done wrong to end up in this situation. He was just about to give up when he caught a passerby’s eye. A gentleman, named Chris, saw something special in the little red dog. He saw past the matted red hair, the poor eyesight and the fact that Darnell couldn’t hear well. Chris knew this little angry dog needed a second chance.
After a few days of getting settled into his new home, an appointment was made to see Dr. Hinze at Winslow Animal Hospital. She checked him out nose to tail and noted that in fact he was mostly deaf, couldn’t walk very well, and had the beginnings of cataracts; Dr. Hinze estimated him to be over 10 years old. Darnell had arthritis, a formal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. Before any medication could be started, a panel of blood work needed to be run. When starting any new medication, like the ones used to treat arthritis, doctors need to see how well the kidneys and liver are functioning. With this information in hand, Dr. Hinze and Darnell’s owner came up with a treatment plan that worked for both of them.
There are many ways to treat arthritis; most veterinarians choose to use what is called a “Multi-Modal approach.” Multi-Modal is a fancy way of saying that several different medications will be used to achieve the best outcome for the patient. In Darnell’s case, since his kidney’s weren’t functioning perfectly, Dr. Hinze choose to start him on an NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory), called Galliprant. There are several drugs in this category that Winslow Animal Hospital uses every day, the most recognizable are Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, Previcox and Galliprant. These drugs are wonderful at controlling the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
The next two medications that were added to Darnell’s treatment plan are both Chondroprotectants; they help encourage the production of joint fluid and slow the degeneration of cartilage. Dr. Hinze decided to start him on a pill form (Dasuquin) as well as an injectable called Adequan.
Now, after a month on his new medications, little Darnell is running around and playing again! At dinner time, he dances on his hind legs to make sure he gets to eat first. Darnell is now ready to enjoy his golden years with his new family as pain free as possible!
Some things to keep in mind as your pet ages:
* Animals over the age of 4 should be evaluated for joint pain at their yearly exams.
*Larger breed dogs are at a higher risk for developing arthritis
*Animals that are overweight are at a much higher risk than a similar sized pet in the ideal weight range. Weight loss as little as 10% can improve joint function by 50%!
*Make sure you choose a treatment plan that will work for your pet’s doctor, yourself and your pet!
*For some patients with Orthopedic injuries, surgery may be needed such as ACL tears, luxating patellas and OCD lesions. Having an orthopedic consultation with Dr. Coudrai will help us decide if surgery is the best option for your pet.
*Pets get Physical Therapy too!! Winslow Animal Hospital is lucky enough to have Linda Franzini a Certified Animal Rehabilitation Practitioner on staff. Linda can suggest some in-home exercises and some simple environmental changes (adding ramps or smaller steps instead of a big jump to the couch or bed) to help your older pet get around your home a little easier. In some cases your pet may benefit most from visiting our Rehabilitation Center right here at Winslow Animal Hospital. We offer Laser treatments which help with pain and inflammation, sessions with the underwater treadmill helping to increase mobility and comfort as well as build strength, and Passive range of motion exercises that maximize the comfortable range of motion in muscles and joints.
*We have two doctors – Dr. Amy Hinze and Dr. Kate McDermott – who are certified in companion animal acupuncture. Acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s own pain relieving anti-inflammatory substances and also improves tissue blood flow/oxygenation. Relaxation of muscles at the site of needle insertion can create both a local and generalized pain relieving effect. Acupuncture avoids potential adverse side effects for your pet’s internal organs and will not adversely interact with your pet’s medications or supplements.
*Food additives can sometimes help increase or maintain joint health as well. Adding Fish Oils that are high in Omega-3’s, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapenteanoic acid) can help reduce inflammation in joints. At Winslow Animal Hospital we send home Welactin Omega-3 supplement with all of our orthopedic surgical cases. Some prescription diets like Hills J/D have added Glucosamine, Chondroitin, DHA and Omega fatty acids already it to make dosing easier.
blog by Shelly, CVT