Health care questions and answers about puppies and dogs


Question:     What exactly is arthritis?  I've been told it can't ever be cured but there must be something I can do for my older dog that has arthritis.
Answer: Arthritis is a general term that simply refers to any kind of inflammation, irritation, swelling or discomfort in any joint.  The causes, effects, treatments and severity of a case of arthritis varies greatly from one individual to another.  Each case needs individualized attention and management. 


Health care questions and answers about cats and kittens

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If your pet is sick, call your local veterinarian immediately!

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I think my 7 year old Great Dane
has arthritis in his hips and back.  Some days he has a hard time even getting up to walk; but once he gets his motor going he can move fairly well.  What happens when dogs get arthritis?

Examples of supplements and nutraceuticals

     Omega Fatty Acids

Arthritis can be very challenging to treat and sometimes there is no cure. Just look at all the humans in wheelchairs from arthritis. Be sure that x-rays have been taken to assess the extent and location of the joint changes. Also be sure the diet is high quality meat-based pet food. Some cases of arthritis are due to internal disorders called Autoimmune Disease. This class of arthritis can be severe and life long. Be sure your veterinarian does a thorough physical exam, takes some x-rays and discusses diet and takes a thorough history. Then you can begin to use specific therapeutic avenues to assist in pain and inflammation reduction. Also some of the Nutraceuticals, such as Glucosamine and Shark cartilage supplements, in some cases have made quite a difference. A good choice for nutritional support of arthritis would be either "The Missing Link" or "Winston's Joint Formula"; both can be ordered from It can be a complicated topic, but persist in getting all the information you can about "arthritis" and you may be able to help your pet quite a bit.

Examples Of Common Medications Used To Assist Patients With Arthritis Discomfort

Rimadyl (carprofen)
Metacam (meloxicam)
EtoGesic  (Etodolac, Lodine)
Cortisone (Prednisone)
Synthetic cortisone-like meds:
     Fludrocortisone  (Florinef)
     Depo-Medrol injection


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Some dogs develop abnormally and the skeletal aberrations lead to lifelong joint changes and arthritis. This dog's spine has advanced bony and cartilaginous changes and the vertebra are fusing together. No amount or type of supplement will favorably impact the damage a loose joint "mouse" inflicts.  It's time for surgery! This dog's knee (stifle) joint has been unstable for many months; advanced osteoarthritis is due to a torn ACL ligament.

How do I know that the pet health care information and the dog and cat question and answer topics are valid and credible information?
     My vet tells me to be cautious about any online veterinary medical information.
     R.D.,  Memphis

Answer:  from Director, T. J. Dunn, DVM
     Great question!  I agree totally with your local veterinarian and I tell my own clients the same thing.  As director of content for this website I control whatever you see, including who the sponsors are and where the links go.  Keep a critical mindset about what is presented online, including this site!  If you see anything in that seems in error or is confusing, I want to know about it!
     I have two motives for creating this site:  The main priority is to give dog and cat owners quick access to intelligent answers to commonly asked pet dog and cat health care questions.
     The second is to create revenue via the sponsors.  If I put my 40 years of veterinary experience to good use, and pet owners respond approvingly, to earn a living providing a service to pet owners is even more enjoyable.

Doctor's Notes

     There will be variety of tips, warnings, and comments in this column.  You will find links to our sponsors and other useful data.

Read the instructions!
     Many flea and tick products work from within the skin's oil layer; if you wash the oils off by shampooing before you apply the topical medication, it may not be effective!

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