Q&A: Gundog Vet

9_ Figure 33My older dog has been diagnosed with arthritis. What are the treatment options?

Amira says: Luckily, we have a huge variety of treatment options available, ranging from arthroscopy, surgery, conservative medical management to physiotherapy and acupuncture. Home management plays an important role. The most important factor in dealing with arthritis is ensuring the patient is at its ideal bodyweight. Any excess weight will put extra strain on the joints. Regular, short and controlled exercise is far better than giving your arthritic dog one long walk a day. Stairs and jumping should be avoided and car ramps are a good way to aid the quality of life in elderly dogs. Orthopaedic dog beds will also ensure comfort at home. Your vet will determine the best pain management regime for the individual patient. Often a multimodal approach will provide the best results. Fortunately, there is a wide array of medication available that target various pain receptors. A combination of anti-inflammatory and analgesics should be carefully tailored to the individual patient. With time, depending on the progression of the disease, the dose or medication may need to be adapted. In addition, alternative therapy including hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, laser therapy, electrical stimulation and acupuncture have proven to be extremely beneficial. The function and mobility of joints as well as muscles can be increased. Owners are able to apply certain techniques taught by a physiotherapist, including passive range of motion and strengthening exercises at home. Often, when used in addition to more conventional treatment, the greatest results can be seen.

Posted in Expert Advice

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