AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO PET ARTHRITIS
Chronic pain caused by pet arthritis is always a threat to our pet’s quality of life as they age. Fortunately, it is also a great example of a health issue that will benefit markedly from integrative therapy. As your integrative veterinarian in San Luis Obispo, there are a great number of ways we can benefit your painful pet. We’ll help you however we can!!
Arthritis is usually defined as a progressive degenerative disease of both the cartilage and soft tissues of the joint. Arthritis in our pets, like humans, is due to a combination of genetics, aging, and overuse of the joints. While overuse or injury creates inflammation within the joint that we feel as swelling and pain, the inflammation itself then causes further joint damage, so that a positive feedback loop forms wherein inflammation worsens the arthritis, which then worsens the inflammmation… and you can see where this leads….
…to pain, loss of function, and sometimes physical deformity.
Increasingly, research in both human and veterinary medicine is recognizing the role of “non joint” issues, like dental disease and diabetes, and their relationship to arthritis. What we are learning is that ANY source of inflammation within the body– whether a bad tooth, allergies, a bee sting, or diabetes– results in the release of inflammatory messengers which increase the damage within our joints. And the reverse is also true– arthritic joints have an impact to the body far beyond “just” discomfort. In fact, when we minimize arthritic inflammation, not only are we making your pet more comfortable but you are also lessening the chances of their developing cancer and other geriatric disease. What could be more important?
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL THERAPY has traditionally relied upon…
2) Cold packs/icing in the first 48 hours after onset, followed by warm packs
3) Weight minimization
4) Lifestyle modification– typically minimizing jumping and twisting in favor of more low impact exercise.
5) Painkillers ranging from aspirin to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Rimadyl, Deramaxx, or Metacam
6) Steroids, either injected into the affected joint or taken orally, in an effort to reduce the inflammatory component of joint disease
While rest and painkillers or steroids will definitely help the typical orthopedic patient, they should be considered a “band aid” which helps to alleviate the symptoms but is unlikely to cure the progressive nature of arthritis. Worse, both NSAIDs and steroids have significant side effects which can, unfortunately, be more of a threat to a patient’s health than the joint pain they are treating.
Rather than using such medications long term, they should be considered short term therapy, or used n cases of advanced arthritis where safer options are no longer effective.
By adding integrative therapy such as weight loss, nutraceuticals, and other joint-nourishing supplements to the treatment plan, our odds of success are increased. Without side effect.
INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT OF THE ARTHRITIC PATIENT
The conventional medical approach to arthritis focuses upon the signs and symptoms of the disease. While the degenerative process is physically located in the joints, the underlying mechanism begins with an inflammatory process at the cellular level. This process initiates the pain and swelling, but also results in the decrease in joint fluid production. This leads to further friction, inflammation, and degeneration within the joint itself.
Adding nutritional and alternative therapies helps to reduce free radical production, decrease inflammation and pain, improve nutrient flow to the tissues of the joint, enhance synovial fluid production, and slow or prevent further degeneration. In addition, if started early, it can reduce the dependence upon or minimize the use of medications.
NUTRITION FOR THE ARTHRITIC PET
-WEIGHT REDUCTION IS UNDOUBTEDLY YOUR PRIMARY GOAL!! Every ounce you can take off your pet will be a HUGE benefit.
-The protein source matters: The larger the vegetable component of your pet’s diet, the fewer inflammatory mediators will be formed.
–Fish Oil: to provide 25 mg omega-3 fatty acids per lb body weight once daily. Note that pets cannot metabolize omega 6 fatty acids into the needed omega 3 fatty acids, so flax oil is much less beneficial than is fish oil. We carry the most concentrated omega 3 capsules made for your pet, so that you don’t have to administer any more pills than you have to.
-Vitamin C: 5 mg per lb given once daily. Buy this from your drug store.
-Vitamin E: 8 IU per lb given once daily. Buy this from your drug store.
UNDENATURED TYPE II COLLAGEN, or UC-II
UC-II is a brand new means of treating arthritis in both humans and pets, and the study results are spectacular. Not only is it an absolutely safe product without side effect, but it has been shown to reduce arthritic discomfort by up to 91% in both humans and dogs. We have the independent studies for you to review.
The way UC-II works is unique, and totally unrelated to any other arthritis treatment. Basically, in an arthritic joint little chunks of joint cartilage are being ground off every time the joint flexes, and these chunks of cartilage are being released into the bloodstream. Your body doesn’t like this, and tries to reject these chunks of cartilage– but that means that your body’s immune response is focused on the source of cartilage- your arthritic joints- and this is a large reason for the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. The oral administration of UC-II, which is closely related to cartilage, desensitizes your immune system against this cartilage and therefore reduces the pain and swelling of arthritic joints. Makes sense, doesn’t it.
Your pet’s dose is 10 mg per day, your dose is 25-40 mg per day. EVERYONE WITH A SORE JOINT SHOULD TAKE UC-II !!
HERBAL THERAPY OF THE ARTHRITIC PET
–CURCUMIN 40 mg per lb given once daily, preferably with fish oil on an empty stomach
-Boswellia (Frankincense) extract
…AND THESE ARE NOW COMBINED INTO ONE CAPSULE. JUST ASK US ABOUT TRANSCEND!!
These are injections of hyaluronic acid and associated “joint lubricants” that are given subcutaneously (under the skin) every three weeks initially three times and then tapered off to ” as needed”. The theory is that the molecules being injected diffuse their way into inflamed joints, but not normal joints. Response is variable to these injections—some pets respond well, others show no change. If a pet is going to respond, they will do so during the initial three shot series. These injections are fairly expensive, but you can be taught how to give them at home and thus help minimize your expense.
STEM CELL THERAPY FOR THE ARTHRITIC PET
Progressive veterinarians are learning the huge values of stem cell therapy in the treatment of arthritic pets. Simply put, no treatment other than stem cell injection can help actually REGROW damaged joint cartilage and thus actually reverse a primary component of arthritic discomfort.
In simple terms, this procedure consists of sending your pet’s fat off to a specialized lab, where the stem cells in that fat are purified and then returned to your vet. These cells are then injected either intravenously or directly into your pet’s arthritic joint. While expensive, this can be a gamechanger for your arthritic pet.
LOTS TO THINK ABOUT….. AND MISSION ANIMAL HOSPITAL WILL BE AROUND TO HELP YOU.