Arthritis is not a simple disease.
It's associated with simple wear and tear of the joints due to age.
It's a genetic disease. It's associated with circulation and vascular problems. It's associated with metabolic and nutrition problems. And finally, it's a degenerative disease of the joints ... but also the muscles and nerves. It comes in all degrees.
There is no cure. But luckily there are treatments and several products that can slow down the effects of this disease process and make your cat or dog comfortable. Especially if used in combination.
Here's what we have to offer:
Omega Fatty Acid Supplements: helpful in improving circulation and flexibility to the joints. Poor circulation is a big part of the problem in arthritis. (also helpful with skin problems)
The problem with Omega 3 products is that when used by themselves we don't often see much improvement. But when combined with glucosamine we do see better and obvious improvement than when glucosamine is used alone. Which is why I like the next option:
Glucocasmine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 fatty acids MSM, & Perna canaliculus are all neutriceuticals known or thought to improve the health of cartilage, reduce the rate of joint degeneration, and make connective tissue stronger and more flexible
Clinically, at least half of the patients trying our flavored FoxNest Brand Joint Support Soft Chews show significant improvement in mobility after a 3 week trial. And we're pretty sure that the other 50% have medical benefit even if it's not obvious.
I also have Joint Support flavored for cats
What makes our brand of Joint Support better even than Cosequin and Dasuquin, and much better than over the counter glucosamine products is better results because it contains both high levels of Omega 3 AND Glucosamine AND MSM in the same product. Less expensive too.
Hills JD Diet: This prescription diet is designed to minimize joint inflammation and increase circulation to joints. It contains effective levels of glucosamine and Omega 3 fatty acids and many dogs are able to discontinue pain medications when on this diet.
This is an excellent product, but, I don't sell it except by special order as I usually find it less expensive and more convenient to simply supplement your pet's regular diet with our FoxNest brand Joint Support Chews (see description above)
Duralactin for Cats and Dogs: is an inexpensive, flavored, very interesting medication made from hyperimmunized cows ! Duralactin is super safe for both cats and dogs, can be used safely in conjunction with other pain drugs and is helpful in reducing the inflammation of arthritis. I also recommend it for ear infections, bladder infections, cancer patients, and with other problems associated with discomfort.
Rimadyl® (carprofen), Metacam® (meloxicam) DERAMAXX® (deracoxib), and Etogesic® (etodolac): These fairly new, competing medications are much more effective at reducing pain and inflammation and than aspirin, Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Tylenol etc.
They are also much safer for daily and long term use and much less likely to cause GI irritation, GI ulcers, and liver problems.
These newer pain medications block the enzymes that cause inflammation and pain, but unlike aspirin, Aleve, Motrin, Advil, and Tylenol, these newer pain drugs spare those enzymes in our body responsible for making the lubricants needed to coat our intestinal system.
These are potent (and unfortunately expensive) medications and the effects are usually amazing; stiff and painful arthritic dogs are often running around like puppies after a few days of medication!
At our clinic, Rimadyl (Pfizer) is our first choice
Note: ALL the medications mentioned above (esp Tylenol) are NOT safe for routine use in CATS. Metacam seems to be safe for short periods in cats and I often dispense it for a few days to minimize post surgery discomfort, but cats don't metabolize most pain medications well, so if used for more than a few days become toxic to the body.
Safety in Dogs: even though these new, potent pain medications are safer than steroid based medications, and safer than other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications they still sometimes cause problems like GI upset and occasionally liver inflammation. Risk is increased when combined with other medications....especially steroids. Because of this,
we recommend a $12 liver screening test every 6-12 months for dogs using these medications long term. "Not a big deal...except when it is"
Adequan Injections: Often very effective for most dogs in mid-late stage arthritis. Unfortunately, you usually need to bring your pet in every 1-3 weeks for repeat injections and as time goes by this treatment sometimes stops working. Probably because since this medication is more expensive than other choices, we save it until the disease is so bad nothing else works well.
Laser therapy and Stem Cell therapy: these very advanced treatments for arthritis are highly successful. And both not only reduce the pain and increase mobility but help damaged tissue heal.
Both are described in the column on your left.
Reality: As the disease gets worse with age, usually some combination of the above treatments and products are needed to make your pet happy and comfortable.
Laser therapy for arthritis
We now have a powerful medical laser that reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain.
And it actually helps heal damaged tissue.
We are seeing impressive results on about 3 out of 4 patients with arthritis, joint swelling, disc disease and so forth.
And it's not very expensive. For now, we're charging $75 for 6 treatments.
Which brings up a small issue:
We use this laser to treat wounds and surgical incisions. Also ear infections and gum disease. And for these acute conditions, just one treatment makes a difference.
But for chronic conditions involving cartilage and bone, it usually takes 3-6 treatments to see a big difference.
So a bit of trouble having to come to the clinic every 2-4 days for 3-6 times.
Nonetheless, I'm very impressed with the results.
The treatments feel good ... most pets seem to really enjoy the slightly warm sensation... and there are no side effects.
Very safe to combine with any of the medications described on your right if they're needed
Stem Cell Therapy for arthritis and other joint diseases:
Stem cell therapy is now available for pets.
And it's the most successful arthritis treatment of all... maybe even a cure.
I don't yet offer stem cell therapy at our clinic, but my colleagues at Happistance Clinic in Townville, SC now offer this very successful treatment. The biggest drawback is cost; $4000 plus.
Expect to see a lot more about stem cell therapy in the near future. And hopefully a reduction in cost.
Arthritis is a disease for which we don't yet have a cure. And typical of diseases without a cure, there are hundreds of near worthless products being hawked by the multi-level marketing people, the nutritional supplement market and so forth claiming to cure arthritis.
There's magnet therapy
Blue Green Algae
Koni Berry Juice
Wild Yam Extract
Crystals and aroma therapy
Something about pyramids
and many more wacky treatments sold to the gullible
Some of the above products such as glucosamine have proven to be helpful, but you have to be careful to use a quality brand... product integrity is highly variable with glucosamine supplements. A lot of brands are useless.
Chondroitin is another nutraceutical that is probably beneficial, but once again quality is critical... chondroitin is a large molecule that is poorly absorbed into the blood stream unless it has been "micronized"
As for berry juices, blue green algae, and many other herbals, they might be a very good source of anti-oxidants ... and there is oxidative damage associated with joint disease... the problem is that we rarely see actual clinical improvement when we try these products touted by multi level marketing or herbal-nutritional chains.