Aging is not a disease, but it happens, we all get older, our dog included, and there are many things we should pay more attention to when years pass. It is heart-breaking when we see that our active and funny dog that used to love going out for long walks or a hike now struggles to even get to their feet. Many times, I have heard owners saying that their pet is “just getting old”, so they don’t seek veterinary attention. Aging is not a problem, but chronic pain is, therefore there are many things we can and should do to prevent our animal to suffering from arthritic pain.
Arthritis (osteoarthritis - OA) is one of the most common chronic problems in elderly animals, affecting 4 out of 5 older dogs. OA firstly affects joints, but eventually affects the whole dog causing a major loss of quality of life.
What can be done?
There are a few rules owners should follow when they believe that their pet has arthritis:
- Seeking veterinary attention is crucial for an accurate diagnosis, to identify the origin of the pain and the type and location of arthritis. Your vet will also give you advice about treatments options, weight management, exercise modifications and diet adaptations.
- Arthritis is a non-curable progressive disease. So, it cannot be fixed, but we can manage the disease and hopefully can slow its progression.
- The best way to give your pet a better quality of life is to use a multidisciplinary approach. That means combining different treatments for a more effective and long-lasting result with minimal to no side effects. It is very unlikely that one single therapy on its own will be enough.
What can Integravet do for you?
At Integravet we can offer you alternative treatments to help your dog manage the problem. These therapies can be used as a sole treatment, or in combination with conventional therapies.
There is poor regulation about veterinary alternative treatments and many people can make dishonest claims. Hence, it is very important to seek a professional and qualified person to ensure that your pet is in the best hands and to guarantee safer and better results.
No two dogs are the same, therefore we cannot treat every pet in the same way and expect the same results. At Integravet we work to offer you and your dog a unique management plan and will consider the individual needs of your animal. We will work alongside your vet to integrate conventional and alternative treatments to add pain relief with no further side effects.
Recent studies have shown that acupuncture and laser therapy are effective to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis in both humans and dogs. These treatments help with the pain as long as the owners educate themselves on the expectations and remain committed to the recommended protocol.
Acupuncture and laser therapy release natural painkillers (endorphins and encephalins) and relax tight, spasmed and shortened muscles by changing the painful sensations that are sent to the brain. As with all treatments to relieve pain, breaking the ‘pain cycle’ sometimes gives permanent relief. This depends on the stage of the arthritis, although acupuncture can help at almost any stage of the condition. As with any other conventional treatment, it can’t cure or reverse the process of arthritis, but it can be an important addition to its pain management.
The pain relief may only last a short time at the beginning of the treatment, but repeated sessions (usually weekly for 4 or 6 sessions) can bring long-term benefit. These therapies have a cumulative effect, so gradually the sessions will be at longer intervals, giving better results with each successive treatment.
Acupuncture and laser therapy are a wonderful tool for pain management and I am very pleased to be able to offer it to my clients.
For further information about our services or to book an appointment, please visit www.integravet.com or call Marta Gonzalez-Paez 07718 064075.
More information and tips can be found at Canine Arthritis Management website.