OPTIONS FOR STIFF and SORE DOGS (and CATS!)

Your pet relies on properly functioning joints to move through life swiftly and effortlessly. Any decrease in mobility of any of the nearly 200 joints in your pet's body will greatly hamper their ability to walk, rise, sit and enjoy life in a normal manner. Today, more treatment options than ever exist to help your pet!

Arthritis, more properly termed degenerative joint disease, occurs as smooth joint cartilage becomes worn, and raw bone surfaces become exposed and rub together. This causes pain, loss of mobility and decreased function of the joint. This degeneration can occur over a lifetime of wear, or faster after some type of injury or due to physical deformities such as hip dysplasia. No matter what the cause, the result is the same: stiffness, pain and loss of mobility. If your pet has these symptoms they hurt, and they are asking for help.

Interestingly, a good percentage of pets do not have degenerative joint disease or hip dysplasia. We have found that about 50% of dogs actually have one of several problems associated with their spine! That is why it is dangerous to simply say, "my pet is stiff" so he must have arthritis! That is also why taking the time to establish the exact and proper diagnosis is critical to achieving the best results from treatment.

Our hope is that this information will assist you in understanding options available for your pet and assist you in making choices which can best help your pet move through life with greater mobility and less pain. All animals should have a thorough physical, appropriate X-rays and other tests the doctor may feel necessary to establish the diagnosis and best determine which treatments will be most useful for your pet.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS are used to control pain, swelling and inflammation. We donít use older drugs like aspirin or phenylbutazone due to the high number of complications that were seen. Newer drugs have been specially made for dogs and cats, and are 5-6 times more potent and 5-6 times safer than these older medications. These include rimadyl, deramaxx, previcox, meloxicam, etodolac and zubrin. Cortisone is sometimes used in more extreme cases. Please do not give tylenol, ibuprophen or naproxen to your pets.

ADEQUAN is a drug we have had excellent success with. This product helps rebuild worn joint cartilage and spinal discs. It is given as an injection, usually one a week for 6 weeks then once every 3-6 months to maintain the benefits. Results are usually seen in 3-4 weeks, and we have very rarely seen any side effects. Over 90% of our clients see improvement in their pets, even in older animals. This product is also safe with other medications. Most clientsí request continued treatment with this product and it works for most any condition!

JOINT SUPPLEMENTS are oral medications that work by providing basic raw ingredients to repair joints and form healthy joint tissue. There are dozens of brands available today but it is our advice to have one that has high levels of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM, along with omega3 fatty acids. Many of the low cost store brands do not have high quality ingredients or these combinations. The best OTC brand we have found is Cosamin. We have a product called Synovi G3 which we feel beats the competition hands down! These products do not mask pain, but pain leaves the pet as joint health improves. We are constantly evaluating products to find the best value for your pets. Side effects are uncommon but can occur, and these supplements can be given with other medications.


CHIROPRACTIC CARE is available to help restore movement and alignment, mostly of the spine, and can be used to assist in rehabilitation after injury or surgery. While chiropractic will not repair worn joints, it can be very useful to restore proper function and motion in the animal. Dr. Day is one of a few veterinarians in the country certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and specializing in small animals only. He has been practicing chiropractic on dogs and cats since 1995.

WEIGHT LOSS may seem common sense, but give a pet a bad joint, pile on a few extra pounds and you have greatly slowed healing and rehabilitation. Several special weight loss diets can speed your pet's diet plan (no, the light foods don't do too much), and some pets should be checked for hypothyroidism, which slows the metabolism and inhibits weight loss. We have r/d, w/d and HiFiber all specially made for true, quick weight reduction.

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©2007 James W. Day D.V.M., P.C.