Friday, April 3, 2009

Arthritis in Dogs--NSAIDS and Joint Support Supplements


If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, is slowing down with age, limping or showing signs of difficulty getting up and down, it is important that you take your pet to the veterinarian for an examination. Quite commonly, your dog may be diagnosed with arthritis. In an effort to promote quality of life and keep the dog comfortable, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) will often be prescribed. Examples are Rimadyl, Metacam and Deramaxx to name a few. While these medications are helpful for chronic pain management, they do have side effects especially affecting the liver. This is why your veterinarian will often recommend that if your pet is using NSAIDs that your dog get a blood test every so often to check your dog's liver values. While NSAIDs can be very helpful and even critical for some pets that are in chronic pain, for most pets, there are holistic alternatives that should be tried first and/or in conjunction with their use. Many of our clients are confused about these medications and somehow think that because their dog is no longer limping or in pain, that the joint or limb problem has been cured. This is not at all the case--in fact, it is quite the contrary. The medication is actually reducing inflammation which is giving temporary pain relief.
To really help support your dog's long-term pain, mobility and joints, you need to use vitamins and nutritional supplements that are proven to help. Many minerals such as calcium, nutraceuticals such as glucosamine and herbs such as turmeric and boswelia have been shown to help. It is important to find combination formulas that contain a comprehensive mixture of vitamins, herbs and nutraceuticals.  We have had excellent success using Special SAMe along with the Dog Arthritis Kit.   It is absolutely essential to use the Special SAMe if your dog has been using NSAIDs as long term use can compromise liver health.  Special SAMe is scientifically proven to help with arthritis and is a vital antioxidant to support the liver.  The Dog Arthritis Kit includes key nutrients such as Curcumin and Omega 3s along with herbs such as bowelia and glucosamine to improve mobility and joint health. The Omega 3 fish oils found in Amazing Omegas help reduce inflammation and are derived from sardines and anchovies and are at a much more therapeutic level than salmon or other fish oils for pets. Many times using these nutritional formulas can be enough that the dog may only require NSAIDs after heavy exercise.
It is important that you use these formulas, if possible, as your dog starts to age, rather than waiting until the arthritis has set in. But, it is never too late to start with them and they can certainly be beneficial to use in addition to using NSAIDs. Many clients report that they were able to greatly reduce the frequency of using NSAIDs on their dog because of the benefits achieved from using these nutritional supplements.
Finally, acupuncture and chiropractic for dogs are also very important considerations. Ariel was able to run and jump at 14 years of age because of her weekly chiropractic and acupuncture treatments. To find a veterinarian who performs acupuncture in your area, go to www.aava.org
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