Degenerative Joint Diseases In Dogs

QUESTION: My dog has been diagnosed with Joint Deterioration and is now quite lame in one back leg. Do you have any suggestions to help my dog?

ANSWER: Without knowing your dogs age, breed, history, and just exactly what your Vet has "diagnosed" happening with the joint(s), I can only give you a basic answer here. Many types of Joint Problems and each may require specialized care or surgery.

(1) Exercise is still important for the dog. BUT: NO forced running, NO jumping into or out of vehicles or off beds, steps, etc, NO leaping after toys during play, NO climbing or descending steep terrain. But none the less, some walking is a must.

(2) If over weight he must be put on a slow and gradual weight loss program as the joints continue to deteriorate from bearing the extra weight.

(3) Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relive excessive pain and encourage moderate activity. "Buffered" or "Enteric Coated" Aspirin is perhaps the safest medication to use for this purpose. The dose is 5 grains per 25 pounds of body weight. CHECK WITH YOUR VET FIRST. And since Aspirin can come in different grains, check label before using.

Gastrointestinal bleeding is a potential danger, but "Buffered" or "Enteric Coated" Aspirin does not produce gastric ulcers (bleeding) in dogs nearly as often as Aspirin in humans.

(4) Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM is well worth a try. Expect up to 90 days to see a huge difference. It does not happen overnight so do not expect instant results. Otherwise don't give up after just a few weeks!!! To learn more about this, please click on OUR ARCHIVES. Scroll down until you come to Newsletters (dog related). Then click on October 20/2004 Glucosamine For Joint Problems.

(5) Speak with your Vet about injecting "Corticosteroids" into the joint?

(6) Surgical Fusion of painful joints, such as the Hock or Elbow, relieves pain and restores limb movement in some individuals. Or Joint replacement may be another surgical alternative.

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