Does your pet have more difficulty standing up, limp or seem stiff?

Then he or she may have degenerative joint disease- arthritis
Just as in people, previous injury, abnormal joint formation or wear and tear with age may predispose your pet to
this problem.    Degenerative joint disease is painful and affects your pet’s quality of life.  What can you do?  

1.  First and foremost the number one factor affecting arthritis in pets is weight. Overweight pets put excess
stress on their joints and are often more reluctant to exercise.  A concerted effort from all members of the
household to get your pet to his or her ideal weight will have a positive impact on joint health now and
progression of disease.  We will give you a diet plan to help achieve this goal and determine an ideal target
weight for your pet.

2.  Supplements -  Because arthritis is the breakdown of cartilage in the joint space, anything that we can do to
slow down that degradation and provide support to the joint is helpful.  Important ingredients in  joint
supplements are glucosamine , chondroitin or Perna Canaliculus and Omega  fatty acids.  These nourish the
joint, minimize inflammation, and help maintain the integrity of joint fluids.  Supplements combining all of these
ingredients are available in a chewable form to make administration easy.

3.  NSAIDS - provide immediate pain relief and reduction in inflammation.  A dog that is in pain does not want to
move around and begins to lose muscle mass putting more strain on joints and starting a downward spiral.  Pain
relief is of utmost importance in managing arthritis.  Dogs are very sensitive to the negative side effects of
NSAIDS, so a COX-2 selective NSAID is recommended.  Examples include Carprofen,  Metacam and  Previcox.  
Some dogs respond better to one NSAID than another so a trial of each might be helpful.  NSAIDS can be used
daily or on an as needed basis. Never give human medications to your pet without checking with your
veterinarian. NSAIDS are not appropriate in cats - alternate pain protocols may be needed.

4.  Adjunct analgesia - in severe cases other types of pain control may be added in addition to the above.

5.  Therapeutic Exercise/ Massage - It is important that dogs with arthritis get regular exercise. Joints that are
exercised regularly are more pain free and more mobile.  Strong muscle mass helps support weight and takes
the strain off of affected joints.   The best type of exercise depends on the type and location of arthritis, but
generally “low impact” exercise is preferable.  Walking or swimming both are included.  In dogs with advanced
conditions , physical therapy may be required to gradually build your pet’s endurance.  This includes cold and
heat therapy, passive range of motion and stretching exercises.  Exercise also helps insure that factor #1 -
weight is optimum.  Our staff can design a program that is beneficial to your pet.  

6. Class 4 Laser Therapy Laser - this non invasive non surgical treatment  increases blood flow, promotes tissue
repair and stimulates release of endorphins and can be accomplished as an outpatient appointment.  We
recommend this therapy in conjunction with therapeutic exercise and massage.  
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Naples Safari Animal Hospital and Pet Resort, Inc 239-592-1950