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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 38829
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I think my dog could be starting to develop arthritis and I

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I think my dog could be starting to develop arthritis and I would like some advice on how to make her more comfortable.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Victoria, it's true that the great majority of 14 year old dogs are osteoarthritic. Please review my complete synopsis of osteoarthritis and then return to our conversation with additional questions and concerns if you wish.

We use a multimodal approach to osteoarthritis in our dogs - dietary management, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory pain relief, neutraceuticals, life-style changes and stem cell therapy. When used concomitantly these approaches should synergize and provide the best control of symptoms. For example, Goldie might show considerable improvement if you add fish oil to her diet. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are anti-inflammatory. I use the cost-effective generic human fish oils and dose them at 20 mg/lb daily of the EPA in the fish oil. You'll find the amount of EPA on the label of the fish oil product. There are also products containing only EPA.

Avoid flax oil because it is poorly bioavailable to dogs. They can't metabolize it properly.

If you prefer, there are diets that are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids. Hill's Prescription Diet j/d is one such diet.

Many vets feel that injections of Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) work better than oral neutraceuticals such as glucosamine/chondroiton sulfate or the over the counter Cosequin or prescription Dasequin (please see here: Adequan is injected into Goldie weekly for a number of weeks at her vet's discretion. You can read more about Adequan here:

Regenerative stem cell therapy has come into its own and is now available for addressing osteoarthritis in dogs . Please see Vet-Stem's website here for more information:***@******.*** The regenerative stem cells are created from Goldie's fat cells and are capable of differentiating into a variety of tissue types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, and muscle and have been proven to reduce pain and inflammation. I understand, however, that such an invasive procedure may not be appropriate at Goldie's age.

We have to suspect that just as in people, geriatric osteoarthritis in dogs is painful. If a prescription nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen, meloxicam or the new grapiprant isn't sufficient for controlling pain, please consider adding a well-tolerated narcotic such as tramadol to these therapies mentioned above. All of these drugs are available from Goldie's vet. Aspirin dosed at 20 mg/kg of body weight with food every 12 hours can be helpful in a pinch as can be paracetamol dosed at 15 mg/kg of body weight thrice daily. The two analgesics can be given concurrently and provide better analgesia than either drug alone. If paracetamol is given for more than 5 consecutive days, it's best to reduce the dose to 10 mg/kg twice daily.

Weight reduction is essential. The less weight Goldie's joints need to carry, the better.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
We've been trying to increase increase the fish oil on recommendations by feeding her oily fish once a week or so but haven't seen any improvement from it. Would you recommend the Nutramax Cosequin DS Plus with MSM Chewable Tablets over using glucosamine tablets?

Yes, that Nutramax product may be more effective than straight glucosamine products but it's important to recognize that in humans, at least, long-term studies revealed that neither glucosamine nor chondroiton sulfate were dependable in relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis. You'll need to give the omega-3 fatty acids daily if you're to see a good response to them. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
She's also been off her food more is that something we should be concerned about?

Certainly. Inappetence is an important sign but it's not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder. At Goldie's advanced age there's rarely just one thing going on and so her vet will want to perform a complete physical exam including diagnostics in the form of fasted (for at least 4 hours prior to arriving at her vet hospital); never restrict water, however) blood and urine tests. A senior/geriatric diagnotic panel is the best bang for your buck (well, quid).

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Thank you for your help ��

You're quite welcome.