by zivpu

Dog Medicine for Easing Arthritic Aches and Pains

If your dog suffers from arthritis, understand that they suffer as much as any human would from the condition. The only real difference is that a dog will often try to keep their pain a secret. You owe it to your dog to recognize the signs and symptoms of arthritis – as well as the best ways to ease his suffering.

Dogs instinctively view their pain as a threat to their ability to defend themselves. They do not want another dog to see their weakness, so they will not limp when it hurts or yelp when they move the wrong way. This mean it might be difficult to spot the first signs and symptoms of your pet’s pain.

Signs and Symptoms

Sometimes you’ll know that your pet is suffering. For instance, if your dog has undergone surgery, you know there will be residual pain. Talk with the veterinarian afterwards about how to properly manage it. You can safely assume that if a surgery would hurt you, it will also cause pain for your dog.

However, when the pain is the result of a condition such as arthritis or joint injury, you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Has your dog changed his usual routine? For instance, if he usually goes upstairs at night to sleep, but now he won’t venture up the stairs, it’s probably because he’s in pain. If your dog usually does a wild dance when you walk in the door, but now he only greets you with a wag of his tail, he may be in pain. If your little lap dog now avoids your hugs and cuddles, it’s not because he is mad at you. More than likely, it hurts him when you pick him up.

Some other signs that your pet is experiencing pain include:

· Unusual whimpering

· Acting quiet and withdrawn

· Inactive

· Suddenly aggressiveness when others come near

· Flattening his ears

· Excessive licking in one area

· Not anxious to play, run, climb the stairs, etc.

· Lack of appetite

· Limping or holding up a paw

How to Treat Pain

The most effective treatment for pain is going to be a prescription medication that you get from your veterinarian. If the pain is the result of surgery, do not take your dog home without a discussion about pain management. If you suspect arthritis or other joint problems, make an appointment to have your dog seen by the veterinarian. You can discuss the appropriate drug for your dog’s specific needs from there.

There are three basic classes of drugs that can help relieve your pet’s pain:

· Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory-Drugs (NSAIDs). This medication blocks the body from producing inflammatory molecules that produce the swelling and pain. It’s used to treat moderate pain. NSAIDS work well, but can also produce complications, such as problems with the liver, kidney, stomach or intestines. They can also cause interfere with normal blood clotting time.

· Opioids. These are what people commonly think of as pain medications. They are given when the pain is more severe and include codeine, fentanyl, morphine, buprenorphine, butorphanol and hydromorphone. They are given when the pain is severe – such as post-surgical pain, advanced cancer and severe arthritis pain. No one wants to “drug up” their dog, but when the pain is severe, opioids are a good choice.

· Corticosteroids. Cortisone and synthetic cortisone-like drugs (like prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone) will drastically reduce inflammation and can make your dog feel better quickly in cases of arthritis or allergic response. But just as people should not stay on corticosteroids for long, neither should your dog. There are long-term side effects that the veterinarian can explain.

Specific medications

Some of the more popular medications available to treat your arthritic dog include:

Adequan Canine (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) is an intramuscular injection given to control the signs of non-infectious degenerative or traumatic arthritis. Your veterinarian can teach you to administer the dose – generally one shot every three to five days over a period of time.

Deramaxx (deracoxib) are chewable tablets containing an NSAID. Don’t worry that your dog will not like the taste as they come flavored to make them more palatable. Deramaxx can relieve pain and inflammation after surgery or help treat chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis. Dogs often respond quickly to the medication.

Novox (carprofen) comes in caplet format and is given after surgery or to treat osteoarthritis in dogs. This medication can cause stomach upset and may even lead to an ulcer, so the manufacturer recommends you give the medication with food.

Rimadyl (carprofen) is another NSAID to treat pain and inflammation in dogs, available in caplet or chewable tablet. Again, try to give the medication with food to reduce stomach upset. If you quit giving the medication, or do not following dosing instructions, the dog’s pain and inflammation may return.

None of these medications are a cure for osteoarthritis, but they can relieve the dog’s pain and inflammation. As a result, your dog may regain his mobility and joy in life. And when your dog is happy, you’re happy too!

Jake Parkhurst is a freelance writer who writes about pet care and products such as dog medicine


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