Fortunately, there are myriad ways to treat joint problems in pets. Below is a list of some conventional treatments and complementary therapies that can help relieve pain, get your pet moving again and keep their joints healthy and strong. It’s always advised to talk with your veterinarian to help determine the best course of treatment for your pet.
A number of surgical treatments are available for a variety of joint problems including osteoarthritis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, floating kneecap and joint trauma. These can range from minimally invasive surgery to clean a joint all the way up to a full hip replacement.
There are a number of veterinary pharmaceuticals available to alleviate inflammation and manage paid including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), buffered aspirin and corticosteroids. These drugs are not without side effects so a discussion with your veterinarian is warranted.
Veterinary Chiropractic: Chiropractic is based on the relationship between the spine and the central nervous system. An animal chiropractor uses manual spinal manipulation to free up the joints, which takes pressure off of the nerves near those joints so they can receive messages from the brain and help the joints regain normal function.
In addition to relieving pain and helping pets gain mobility, chiropractic care can also be used as a preventative measure to keep pets structurally sound and help those with existing joint conditions avoid compensation injuries (shifting the body into awkward positions to compensate for the affected limb).
There are a variety of rehabilitation therapies that can help pets with joint trauma, degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and other joint conditions to control pain, restore mobility and function and get them back doing the things they love to do. Some forms of rehabilitation therapy that are particularly good for joint problems include laser therapy, hydrotherapy (underwater treadmill), therapeutic exercises, massage and neuromuscular stimulation to name a few.
This complementary therapy is thousands of years old but has only recently gained momentum in the veterinary community. Acupuncture is the technique of inserting ultra-fine needles into specific acupuncture points on a pet’s body. Acupuncture is used to treat many health issues and is particularly beneficial in relieving the pain and inflammation from osteoarthritis and other joint conditions.
Anti-inflammatory diet and nutritional supplements
An anti-inflammatory diet — high protein/low carbohydrate such as raw or grain-free kibble — will help keep your pet at an optimal weight while combating inflammation. Nutritional supplements made specifically to promote joint health can help with cartilage repair and maintenance.