Old age is an unavoidable stage of life and this is also true for dogs. As dogs age, they can develop a variety of conditions that may affect their comfort levels and quality of life. One of these conditions that are very common is osteoarthritis. This condition is very similar to the type that humans also develop in old age and involves inflammation in the joints caused by age-related degeneration.
Unfortunately, there isn't yet a cure for osteoarthritis. If your dog develops it, the only treatments available will be for managing the condition, minimizing your dog's discomfort, and providing the best quality of life for them. Here are three treatments your vet will most likely suggest for treating your dog's osteoarthritis:
1. Laser therapy
Laser therapy is a common medical treatment in human healthcare and it's also being used increasingly in animal healthcare. Veterinary lasers are an effective and non-invasive way to treat a number of ailments in pets and osteoarthritis is one of these.
The laser is directed to the joints affected by the condition in a course of ongoing treatments. It helps to reduce inflammation, encourages healing, and can help to alleviate the discomfort and pain in your dog's joints.
In many cases, your dog may require medication to help ease the pain and inflammation caused by the osteoarthritis. Generally, this medication will be anti-inflammatory medication such as steroids and pain relief medication.
It's important to work closely with your vet if your dog requires long-term medication. Although the medications will help with the condition, they can also cause serious and uncomfortable side-effects which need to monitored closely by a pet health professional.
In some cases, your vet may recommend surgery to give your pet relief from the symptoms of their osteoarthritis. Surgery may involve removal of irritating materials such as bone spurs and cartilage fragments or in more extreme cases, it may involve removing and replacing a joint with a prosthetic joint.
Your vet will weigh up the benefits and risks of any potential surgery before presenting it as an option. For older dogs who are in poor general health, the risks involved with anesthesia, post-surgery complications, and recovery from surgery may not make surgery a good choice for your dog. If your dog is relatively young and healthy, the risks of surgery may be outweighed by the relief and quality of life your dog will enjoy. A decision on surgery is best made as a joint choice between you and your vet with your pet's best interests as the deciding factor.