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Arthritis Medication for Dogs and Cats

By Matt Popkin. April 24, 2012 | See Comments

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Arthritis Medication for Dogs and Cats

Arthritis is painful for both pets and pet parents alike. Learn about some treatment options here that can help your pet cope.

Arthritis can cause your dog or cat a lot of pain. Simple tasks like walking up or down a flight of stairs become grueling trials. Playing with the puppy next door can go from something your pet enjoys to something they loathe. However, with arthritis treatment, your pet will be moving around and feeling well again. These are some of the treatments you can give your pet to help them deal with arthritis.

Exercise

Helping your pet stay healthy is a simple way to fight arthritis. The more trim your pet is, the less weight there is on their joints. That means that your pet’s joints don’t have to do as much work when your pet moves around.

Keep in mind that while it is important to have your pet be fit, excessive running or movement can make their arthritis more severe. After all, part of the reason they are suffering from the condition is because of the wear and tear that comes from an active pet life. In other words, don’t put your pet through an obstacle course where they have to weave through barrels and jump over a fence. Keep it simple and low-key.

A good low impact exercise is swimming. If your pet is comfortable in the water, consider having them do hydrotherapy. This is a way for them to exercise and still keep weight off their joints.

Other options include physical therapy programs that involve massage and acupuncture. Whatever you choose, you should try to pick a course of action that your pet enjoys. There's no reason to force them into doing something they find annoying or painful with so many options available.

Painkillers

There are also several medical treatments for pets suffering from arthritis. The most common drugs given to dogs with the condition are are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDs. Think about the pills you take when you have aches and pains. Now think about versions of that made for your dog.

Dog-specific painkillers will hopefully enable your pet to lead a more normal life, despite their arthritis. One of the most popular kinds of canine painkiller is Rimadyl, which, like all of most used NSAIDs, requires a prescription and will help your pet be ache-free for up to 24 hours. For best results, give your pet Rimadyl and its generic equivalents with food.  

Other painkiller options for dogs include EtoGesic, which bills itself as both a potential long term and short term solution for your pet’s pain, and Previcox, which says it will lower the swelling in your dog's joints. However, whichever NSAID you pick, your dog should have their bloodwork checked every 4-6 months to make sure the drugs are not damaging your pet's liver.

Other Painkillers:

Joint Health Supplements

Joint health supplements are pills you can give your dog to help jumpstart cartilage rebuilding and growth. Many of the top brands, like Dasuquin for Dogs, do not require a prescription and help your pet’s joints heal much quicker than they would have otherwise. Others, like Cosequin, also serve as a joint lubricant, as well as helping reduce any inflammation that your pet may be experiencing. Joint health supplements also come in soft chew and treat form, like Cosequin Soft Chews, which combines medicine with a taste your pet is sure to enjoy.

Other Joint Health Supplements:

Intramuscular Injections

Another option for fighting arthritis are intramuscular injections. These are prescription drugs that are injected into your dog’s muscles to help repair damaged cartilage by inhibiting the enzymes that destroy your pet’s cartilage, thus allowing it to regrow at a faster rate. Adequan Canine, which is the only FDA approved type of this drug, goes to work within hours and provides relief for your pet for almost three days by both limiting your pet’s pain and helping with the cartilage rebuilding process.  Usually Adequan Canine is administered twice a week for a month to see the best results.

Arthritis Medication for Cats

You have to be very careful when giving medicine to your cat, because several drugs that work wonders for dogs can be harmful to our feline friends. NSAIDs can be toxic for your cat, causing loss of appetite and vomiting in some cases. Ask your veterinarian before you start your cat on any new form of drug, and make sure to give them only drugs specifically made for cats.

Among the top drugs for cats with osteoarthritis is Cosequin for Cats, a joint health supplement specifically engineered to help cat joints heal faster. Cosequin comes in capsule-form, which should be given to your pet in one dosage a day. Cats less than 10 pounds only need one capsule a day, while those weighing more than 10 pounds should take two a day.

Other joint health supplements made specifically for cats include Dasuquin for Cats and Arthogen for Cats.

Hopefully now with this information you’ll be able to help your pet continue live a great life, even if they have arthritis. That’s what being a great pet parent is all about!

Related Content

Causes of Dog and Cat Arthritis
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Canine and Feline Arthritis: 5 Things You Should Know

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by,your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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