I will write a book because half my life is about canine arthritis management
I tried adequan injections last year, and it seemed to help a bit - the very slight morning limp vanished. We haven’t done it again as she had a quite scary arthritis flare and I went more aggressive with drugs and physical therapy, as her situation needed a more immediate, direct approach.
Rimadyl/Deramaxx (NSAIDs) - we all distrust them, but there comes a point when there is no life without them. And it’s probably better to start them before that point, even if just on an “as needed” basis, so a) you can treat the pain they’re having before they show it, and b) you can make sure your dog is ok on them. If a dog who, for instance, is showing issues with Rimadyl and needs to try Deramax, is in pain, the washout period between switching them is going to be hard on him.
Painkillers (opiates) - I also had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this, but now we’re doing regular Tramadol. Also can be added on an “as needed” basis.
- there’s virtually no regulation on supplements, I would buy these from the vet. - there is little evidence that supplements work. They may work, they may not. I feel a bit silly saying this, as I’m regularly buying 2 for my dog.
Fish oil -specifically, omega-3 fish oil, may be good for the coat and the joints. I use Nordic Naturals, which our vet recommended.
- Dasuqin (glucosamine/chondrotin) Dog has been taking these since she was 10, as a preventative, long before developing arthritis. Dunno if it helped.
Exercise - I strongly suspect that the fairly late onset of my largish dog’s arthritis was due to the fact that when she was 10, I began taking her on long, easy walks in the woods. I didn’t do it intentionally to delay her arthritis, but it seemed to have had that effect.
Physical Therapy - since long walks in summer are out for my old and shaggy dog, we’re doing underwater treadmill in a/c comfort. It really helps keep her in better shape. Whenever we take a break - during this brutal winter cold, or when she had an infection - the difference in her stability is noticeable.
- nonslip rugs/mats
- raised dog bowls
- multiple water bowls
- quiet zone
I did all these only after an arthritis flare scared me badly. They probably needed doing earlier. The second water bowl is great - dog really prefers its location to her regular bowl in the kitchen and hydration is important for arthritis.
There are many other therapies - massage, accupunture, cold laser, stem cell, etc. I’ve tried some, unsure if they work. I figure the massage at least feels good There’s a good bit (though not too recent) at this vet blog that examines popular treatments and how proven they are (or aren’t).