When arthritis causes a beloved pet to suffer debilitating joint pain, diligence and alternative therapies can help.
Injury, disease, aging, and irresponsible over-vaccination can lead to the pain and suffering associated with arthritis. But natural methods of pain reduction and immune system support can help steer Rover back to the good life and increase his level of comfort.
Symptoms for Dogs With Arthritis
It may be difficult to realize a dog is suffering from arthritis.
His slow, deliberate movement may easily be chalked up to old age or sore
muscles. Dogs suffering from arthritis may exhibit some or all of the
- reluctance to play
- laboring to climb stairs
- sad or squinted eyes
- difficulty rising from a prone position
- nipping or licking at joints
- behavioral changes
- limping or stiffness
- unwillingness to be touched
Other symptoms, like sudden new fears, specific to only a certain dog may appear. Being acutely aware of any change in a dog’s lifestyle or behavior is the first step to helping him. If symptoms are identified, testing can confirm an arthritis diagnosis.
Dog Arthritis Treatment Drugs
Drugs commonly prescribed for arthritic pets may mask the symptoms
and ease the pain but may effect no real improvement in the underlying issues, and
in spite of the drugs, the disease may continue to worsen. Arthritis drugs can behave
like the tiny, temporary spare tires in the trunks of modern cars. They keep the
vehicle going for a while, but eventually the car will need a proper repair or it will
cease to roll.
Arthritis drugs administered exactly to prescription guidelines can still result in multiple damaging side effects. The popular anti-inflammatory drug manufactured by Pfizer, Rimadyl (generic Carprofen,) has improved arthritic conditions for some dogs and led to the deaths of others. Common NSAIDs prescribed for dogs continue to carry the risk of substantial, sometimes deadly, side effects. The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine requires that dog owners be advised of common adverse reactions to the regular use of NSAIDs for the treatment of arthritis.
Dog Nutrition and Canine Arthritis
A healthy, species-specific diet for arthritic pets is crucial in the battle against arthritis. Commercial pet foods frequently contain refined grains, inappropriate foods, and chemicals that exacerbate arthritis suffering. On the other hand, fresh, raw foods can make a striking difference in a dog’s ability to cope with the challenge of arthritic joints.
Working to restore a dog’s health to a state that existed before the onset of the arthritis is the primary goal. A natural, preferably organic, diet promotes a healthy immune system and improves a pet’s chances of minimizing the pain of arthritis. As a bonus, a naturally balanced diet helps control weight. With a greater burden placed on the joints from excess pounds, heavier pets face an increased risk of arthritic development.
Holistic Treatments for Arthritis in Dogs
The holistic approach to arthritis is one where the whole body is considered and optimal health is targeted. Nutrition, fitness, emotional well-being, and environmental concerns are all addressed. As stated by Dr. Thomas Van Cise, DVM, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Diploma Vet Homeopathy and Reiki Master, of All Animals Exotic or Small in Norco, CA, "The goal is to treat the dog, not the disease. Holistic treatment involves nurturing the body's innate ability to return to a normal state of health."
Well-documented natural healing treatments for canine arthritis include:
- herbal supplementation
- natural anti-inflammatory aids
Other advanced treatments include:
- pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
- stem cell replacement
The Holistic Veterinarian
A holistic vet can be beneficial, but the term, “holistic”, is frequently abused
by veterinarians interested in the concept but not trained in the protocols. Verifying a holistic
vet’s credentials and seeking out testimonials of real clients who have experienced the outcome
of holistic treatments firsthand is the best way to insure a positive experience.
Holistic vets were educated and trained as conventional vets first. The holistic
training occurred above and beyond conventional training. But no holistic training is required
to become a conventional vet. Therefore, while is it assured that at holistic vet is also capable
of administering conventional treatments, it is not assured that a conventional vet is trained
or certified to administer alternative treatments.
To receive the most effective holistic treatments, it’s important to investigate
veterinary credentials and to choose a vet who is certified and experienced in a number of
The search for a properly trained holistic veterinarian can begin with a visit to
the American Holistic Veterinarian Medical Association (AHVMA) website.
Triumph Over Arthritis
Addressing arthritis by making real changes in the dog’s routine and circumstances provides the best chance of giving the dog a new lease on life.
Genuine help begins with personal due diligence that includes research, the assistance of a qualified holistic veterinarian, and the desire to help the beloved family dog rise above his or her arthritis and feel a whole world better.