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Ask the Expert: Arthritis Hurts Pets, Too

Dr. Annie Price offers a few options to relieve your pet's arthritis

EastAtlanta.Patch.com regularly offers tips on pet health. This week we feature expert advice from Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital. If you have more questions, feel free to email EastAtlanta.Patch.com today.

Q: My dog has arthritis. What can I do to relieve the symptoms?

Dr. Price: Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joint fluid. Once this fluid is inflamed, it becomes watery, which makes it a poor lubricant for joints. Talk to your veterinarian about joint supplements, which can help relieve the pain. Fish oil is a good supplement that you can hide in peanut butter. Here are a few other options to consider:

  • Acupuncture: This would be a long-term therapy option, but some patients have had success with acupuncture.
  • Adequan:  Originally was used on horses, this medication is initially injected twice a week for four weeks; doses are tapered down after that period.
  • Water therapy: Physical therapy using an underwater treadmill can help quite a bit, but don’t just throw your pet in the water. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a rehab facility near you. These professionals can teach people how to help dogs swim.
  • Weight control: Every arthritic patient in my practice has to go on a diet. It’s hard for people to cut back, we are in control of what they eat and, you can add green beans to bulk up their food. That’s a fat-free option.  Check out a previous Ask the Experts on the importance of controlling your pet’s weight.

Q: How do I request a second opinion on my cat’s condition without making our vet angry?

A: I have been on both sides of that situation.

I offered a second opinion to a client whose vet found a large tumor and said the pet wouldn't live through surgery to remove it. Fortunately, I was able to remove the tumor, which turned out to be a massive benign hematoma.

Keep in mind that there are several factors at play when a doctor offers a second opinion. For example, the disease process may not have looked the same. Also, the other doctor may have better diagnostics.

If one of my clients asks for a second opinion, I refer them to a specialist such as a veterinary oncologist. They are more qualified in a particular area and can provide a more thorough second opinion.

Bazza May 18, 2011 at 08:59 AM
Interesting Article. Do you have any knowledge of the natural New Zealand supplement made from New Zealand Deer Antler Velvet? Have been using NZ Velvet Agility Advance formula on my 12 year old Lab who has DJD. Amazing positive results, worth considering!! Bazza
Morieka V. Johnson May 19, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Thanks for the suggestion. I will talk to Dr. Price about it and report back.
E.J. May 20, 2011 at 01:19 AM
I have a friend that uses condroitin, says it works like a charm given a few days.

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