Nelson is a 12 year old Golden retriever was holidaying at the beach and doing one of his favourite past times digging in the sand on one summer. Suddenly he collapsed his hind legs giving way and he could not stand.
On questioning Nelson’s owner also reported that in the last six months Nelson had been lagging behind on his walks. Nelson had also had a previous injury in his right hind leg a few years ago when he was hit by a car.
Dr Clare examined nelson and isolated pain in his right hind leg and on applying pressure to his spine. Arthritis was diagnosed in his hind legs and spine and Dr Clare prescribed antiinflammatories and rest.
Nelson was then started on a course of Pentosan for his arthritis. The active ingredient in Pentosan acts by reducing the pain and inflammation in the joints, increasing the amount and viscosity of joint fluid and stimulating cartilage healing. Nelson responded quite quickly to the Pentosan injections.
Dr Craig and Dr Clare discussed with Nelson’s owner the other supplements that aid in the treatment of arthritis. Nutritional supplements are called neutriceuticals. Some of the products we recommend are Cosequin and Sasha’s Blend. Cosequin contains glucosamine and chondroitin and Sasha’s Blend has shark cartilage and green lipped mussel.
There are also special diets available which contain supplements effective for managing the pain and preventing the progression of arthritis.
Nelson’s owner has been giving him Cosequin daily and Nelson and his parents are really happy with the response.
Take home message
Arthritis is one of the most common problems we see in older dogs, particularly over the colder months. The causes include old age, wear and tear, previous injury (fracture, ligament damage) and conformational abnormalities. Some of the signs of arthritis include a reluctance to walk (particularly up and down stairs) limping and difficulty getting up after resting.
The veterinarian may recommend taking x-rays to confirm the diagnosis of arthritis and assess it’s severity. Once arthritis has been diagnosed measures that can be taken to manage it include:
- Maintaining an ideal weight
- Encouraging regular, moderate exercise such as light walks and swimming
- Keeping pets warm, particularly at night
- Veterinarian recommendations about various treatments, supplements and diets available.