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Pain Management Options at OAH

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Pain Management

PAIN PAIN GO AWAY!!!

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Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of pain in older pets.  Most pets do not show outright signs of pain; rather, their pain is more subtle.  If your pet is slow to rise or cannot go up and down stairs as easily as he used to then he is likely in pain.  If he is limping, he is in pain.  Other signs of osteoarthritis pain can include decreased activity, stiffness after exercising, withdrawal from family members, and aggression and pain when touched.

Several options are available for treating arthritis pain in our pets.  Our goal of treatment is to keep pets comfortable and pain free.  The first thing that must be done for arthritic pets is weight loss if they are overweight or obese.  Many pets will be much more comfortable simply by losing a few pounds.  This can be accomplished by reducing caloric intake by limiting treats and table scraps, as well as using a prescription diet designed to help lose weight.  If you have any questions regarding these diets, do not hesitate to contact our office.

Next, all pets that are prone to developing arthritis should be on a glucosamine supplement.  These often include chondroitin and/or MSM as well as manganese.  These products have been shown to protect cartilage and decrease inflammation within the joints.  Studies have shown that they are more effective when used as a preventative than as a treatment, but they can help in our pets that already have arthritis as well.  Any large breed dog should be started on a glucosamine supplement by one year of age.

Another option for arthritis pain is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).  NSAIDs reduce pain and inflammation. There are currently six veterinary approved products that can be used in dogs.  Over the counter products, including aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc. should not be used unless specifically directed by your veterinarian.  One study showed that aspirin causes GI bleeding in dogs 100% of the time.  These over the counter medications, especially aspirin, should never be given to cats.  While on these medications, it is important to monitor for side effects as well as performing routine lab work to monitor liver and kidney function.  

Adequan® is another product available that can significantly help arthritic pets.  Adequan® is an injectable product that will help decrease inflammation and lubricate the joints, as well as protecting the cartilage.  More information about Adequan® can be found here.

Other important treatment modalities for arthritis pain are physical therapy and fatty acids.  Physical therapy will help strengthen the muscles to help support the painful joints.  Physical therapy can also help increase the range of motion of these joints.  High levels of fatty acids have also been proven to help decrease inflammation within joints.  Hill’s Prescription Diet® j/d® is formulated to help protect our dogs’ joints.  More information about this diet can be found here.  We have seen excellent results with this diet.

A few newer treatments are available or will be available soon, including stem cell therapy, pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy, and laser therapy.  Acupuncture has been proven to help decrease pain. There are also a few other drugs that are available to use for pain as well.  For more information on how we can work together to help your pet with his pain, please contact us and we can discuss options for treatment.

The best treatment often involves a combination of modalities mentioned above.  As members of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, our goal at Olathe Animal Hospital is to keep your pet pain free so he can be as happy and as healthy as possible.

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