Goal #1: Preserve cartilage
To do this we want to decrease wear and tear, stop the chemical destruction happening inside the joints and to provide the building blocks for restoration (which although limited, can NOT take place without the right biologic ingredients!
This means our supplements should include all of these:
Building blocks for joint fluid - PSGAGS, glucosamine, and chondroitin, HA
Building blocks for cartilage, ligaments and joint capsule - collagen, MSM (sulfur)
To preserve cartilage and improve joint glide (reduce friction):
The best plan includes annual joint injections for lubrication with Synamid
To add back the building blocks we need to repair joints:
Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan (PSGAGs)
1. Adequan - if there is only one joint supplement I can give, I use this. It slows joint destruction and inflammation in addition to providing some joint nutrition.
Note: this is a subcutaneous or intramuscular injection you can learn to give at home. You will need a prescription.
Read the clinical studies if you are a science nerd, here on their website.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin options:
Cosequin DS, or Caneva, or Connectin - all of these have some clinical data for cartilage protection and Caneva and Connectin have some data for pain relief.
1. Cosequin DS which you can get on Amazon for dogs, and as Cosamin DS for humans.
2. Caneva you can buy on their website, here.
3. Connectin you can get on Amazon or Chewy. Here is their clinical paper.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) options:
1. Hyalogic has the best data for pain relief and improving joint mobility
and you can get it on Amazon for dogs and for horses, and of course, as a human supplement.
Note: I would not use the human tabs for dogs due to fake sugar.
2. Lubrysn as an allergy friendly alternative as it is made from bacterial synthesis and without chicken cartilage in the formula. I buy it on Amazon or Chewy.com for convenience.
More info on their website.
1. Flexadin advanced or UC II
Clinical Data for UC II in dogs when compared to an NSAID: Click here.
Clinical Data proving that UC II improves mobility and decreases lameness when given with Glucosamine and Chondriotin and more than G + C alone: Click here.
Goal #2: Decrease inflammation
1. The best: stem cell therapy every 6 - 12mos (there are options to discuss)
2. Omega 3 FA: I use (Dr. Harveys Mackerel because it is the most concentrated with 825mg EPA/525mg DHA per tsp), or the Salmon Oil if you prefer (420mg EPA/460mg DHA per tsp).
Interested in how it works and the science or need to know how much to give?
Here is a clinical paper to help with dosing of fish oil for OA - for omega 3 FA: click here.
Goal #3: Muscle building and flexibility
Shockwave therapy is hugely helpful to release muscle spasm and relieve joint friction It reduces pain and stimulates the body to turnover physical tissues. We often employ this before rehab to facilitate tissue movement that greatly speeds up the early phases of recovery so that rehab time can be more focused on exercise. Some dogs get treated a few times or a few times per year for best possible mobility.
Read more about that in clinical trials for: hip arthritis, knee arthritis, and back pain.
Watch videos of my patients being treated on You Tube here.
Watch the video explanation of the technology inside this high tech sound machine: here.
Regular rehab exercise is essential: The most important exercises are elevated stand with spine extension and then follow up with weight shift to pelvic limbs
Use the pelvic rocking/spine extension exercise and include
Backwards walking and sidestepping at least 3 days per week
Goal #4: Pain management and monitoring
Use NSAIDs as needed, and schedule appointments every 6 months Shockwave as needed - work up to doing without sedation - possibly every 3 - 6 months
Consider Synamid injections for hips annually
To reduce the amount of medications we need to use, we may add Caneva for daily anti - inflammatory action, and if pain is creeping up, we may add Amantadine as needed.
More info on Caneva: here is the website.
More info on Amantadine: read this clinical paper.
More information for non-drug pain therapy options:
Clinical data for Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy: read this paper.
Assisi loop (PEMF) - website: they have loops or the bed
** Respond laser company makes a less expensive bed
Laser therapy at home - you can buy your own My Pet Laser
Data for laser: read this paper about this laser.
This list is written in a way that it follows the path of how arthritis creates progressive medical challenges over time.
For dogs who already have arthritis, we have to work this checklist in reverse. So, we start with pain management, restoring flexibility, and reducing inflammation and ultimately once that is all managed, we try to maintain with joint supplements and exercise as much as possible!
Most animals with arthritis benefit from an intervention like shockwave or joint injections as better methods of reducing inflammation and stimulating production of normal joint components on a semi-annual basis.
Every dog is different, please see your vet for a consult.
YES: if you actually want to do this well, I recommend all of them for an arthritic dog.
My own dogs take:
Connectin + Adequan + Hyalogic + UC II and Dr. Harvey's fish oil.
NOte: there are a ton of links in here to help you find products, read the research papers for yourself, and to watch some videos about how all this works.
Just click on them.
i know that this is a lot.
This is a page you may come back to for years over years of your dog's life.
MOST important: Know that you don't have to do it all, you are not failing your dog. We as rehab pros can help you pick out what your dog needs NOW vs doing all of this. I include it all so that you will know - there is so much more to pain relief and better mobility than just anti-inflammatory medication!