Caring for kittens

Innovative treatments for arthritis in dogs

by Micheal Mills

As pet dogs live longer and more secure lives with better access to food, they are more likely to get lifestyle diseases associated with increased age including arthritis. This can be very hard for dogs to deal with as it is very painful and can impede their natural urge to run and play. Luckily there are a range of treatments that can help your dog to live their life with as little pain and as much movement as possible. 

Stem cell therapy

In stem cell therapy the dog has a small amount of fat removed from their body under a local anesthetic and this fat is sent to a laboratory. The lab removes stem cells from the fat and these are then injected directly back into the joints that are suffering most severely from osteoarthritis. While studies are still under way, owners report impressive improvements to their dog's mood and mobility after starting on it. In most cases, the treatment is combined with other sensible adjunct treatments including anti-inflammatory medication, massage, and weight management. 

As this treatment requires anesthesia, it may not be suitable for all animals; it's important to discuss the issue early on with your vet to determine if it might be useful for your dog. 

Diet supplements

As with humans who suffer from arthritis, it is common to look at diet supplements to help dogs to manage their arthritis. Glucosamine sulfate is part of the natural structure of collagen, which is the lubricant in joints. There is some indication that supplementation with Glucosamine sulfate can help repair damaged cartilage and minimise pain in joint movement by improving lubrication. Another common supplement is chondroitin which can also be shown to help with repair of damaged cartilage as well as having preventative properties. Importantly studies also indicate that chondroitin and glucosamine work most effectively when consumed together. 

While in most cases these supplements can be self prescribed and can be hard to overdose on, it can be a good idea to discuss the potential for diet supplements to form part of the arthritis treatment with your dog's vet. 

Heat treatment

Many dogs find that warm environments, particularly in their bedding, substantially reduce arthritis symptoms. Rather than a soft blanket why not opt for a temperature controlled warm pad that maintained a consistent temperature throughout the night to provide a comfortable and sooth sleep environment. 

If you are worried about symptoms of your dog's arthritis, then you should chat to your vet and work out a sensible treatment plan.