There are many pain relief drugs that are used for dogs with arthritis. But, these should be advised or prescribed by a vet. One major supplement to help relieve joint pain is glucosamine chondroitin for dogs.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Non-Steroidal
These are medications that are anti-inflammatory but do not repair or heal cartilage. These work best when used with other supplements and given with food. These do offer rapid relief from the pain.
Effects of NSAIDS
A few NSAIDS have chondroprotective characteristics, meaning they protect against cartilage breaking down. Others, for example aspirin, can actually destroy cartilage in the doses required for relief of pain. This is one of the major reasons why aspirin is less used for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
NSAIDS most often recommended are medications that need a prescription. There are newer medications currently that have been created which are significantly better than aspirin and the NSAIDs that are older. Rimadyl (carprofen) is one of these very excellent drugs with a low frequency of side effects with the gastrointestinal tract and has upheld itself over time. It is a medication that is given daily. Rimadyl offers great pain relief and seems to slow the arthritic process. There are no damaging effects on cartilage.
‘Labrador Retrievers’ and perhaps several other breeds, might display a higher propensity for toxicity in liver with Rimadyl. Etogesic (etodolac) is an additional NSAID that is newer. It needs only one dose a day and has proven as effective as Rimadyl. These drugs are only available through your vet by prescription.
Note that many over-the-counter NSAIDs used for control in pain with people are very dangerous when given to dogs. Do not use any drugs without veterinary approval and never use more than one NSAID at the same time.
As dogs grow older, the surfaces of cartilage of the joints begin to start thinning out and cartilage cells start to die. When the cells die, there is a discharge of enzymes that causes inflammation of the joint capsule and it releases excessive joint fluid.
With a physical exam, vets depend on a dog’s pain response to joint palpation, detection of crepitus (a grating or crackling awareness that can be felt in the joint), presence of muscle atrophy, and reflection of gait to diagnose osteoarthritis.
There are a variety of joint supplements that are available to promote joint health and healthy cartilage. These comprise an assortment of combinations of chondroitin, glucosamine, MSM, green-lipped mussel and other chondroprotective elements. Many owners and vets have found that a small number of these products seem to be helpful. It is not known whether beginning supplementation at a young age benefits every dog. This is a decision that should be made with your vet, taking into concern factors like diet, genetics and if the dog was diagnosed early on with hip or other joint abnormalities.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA) have also been documented to help dogs with arthritis. These are included in some canine arthritis diets, but to be effective, levels might need to be higher or other supplements might be needed.