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Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain and lameness, affecting as much as 20% of the canine population over the age of one year.  Most cases occur secondary to joint trauma, joint instability or developmental abnormalities present in the joint.eg hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, disc prolapse.

Control of osteoarthritis is a combination of:

  • Proper nutrition and weight control;
  • Controlled exercise and physical therapy;
  • Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic drugs;
  • Disease modifying agents.

 

Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition prevents obesity therefore reducing inflammation in osteoarthritic joints by reducing the load on the joints.  

  • Young dogs should not be overfed; feed a balanced diet and do not over-supplement calcium and protein. 
  • Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which reduces the production of certain prostaglandins so helping decrease inflammation.  Increasing the ratio of

      Omega 3:Omega 6 in the diet will help reduce inflammation. There are specially formulated prescription diets available in RSA like Hills Joint Support

Exercise

Exercise helps prevent obesity and maintains muscle mass.

  • Low impact exercises are good, i.e. walking and swimming.
  • Exercise should be done at a consistent level on a daily basis as opposed to intermittent or strenuous activity which leads to bouts of increased pain and lameness.
  • Start gradually and increase as joint function improves.  Also start on a level surface and progress to slopes.

 

NSAID’s

These reduce joint pain, decrease inflammation and improve lameness.  Individual patients respond to specific NSAID’s  quite differently and a given patient may respond favorably to one NSAID and have no response to another, so if no response is seen after several weeks, a different one should be tried.  The main side effect is gastro-intestinal -  stomach upset, anorexia, vomiting and diarrhoea. Examples of NSAID’s are Aspirin/Disprin, Brufen, Piroxicam, Previcox and Carprofen(Rimadyl).

 

Disease Modifying Agents

These slow the progression of cartilage degradation and promote cartilage matrix synthesis.

They can be in the form of a daily food additive eg. Tablets/powder containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate eg Mobiflex / Arthroease or in the form of a depot injection like Adequan which is given every 4-6 weeks.