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Arthritis Management

March 9, 2018

Arthritis afflicts our feline and canine patients on a daily basis.  The chronic pain and discomfort it causes substantially decreases their quality of life.  Fortunately there are numerous beneficial interventions that can be implemented for our arthritic animal companions. The purpose of this blog is to provide a basic overview of how we manage this condition in dogs and cats.

Weight Control:

Unfortunately arthritis and being overweight is a common combination.  A leaner body condition will improve mobility and comfort. However, it may be difficult for an arthritic patient to lose weight as they are too painful to be active. A discussion should take place with your veterinarian to create a unique treatment plan for your pet. It should include nutritional counseling, pain management, and suggestions for physical activity.


Here is a list of the supplements we endorse for our arthritic patients:

Adequan: an injectable supplement that provides the building blocks for joints

Dasuquin/Cosequin (Glucosamine/Chondroitin): an oral supplement that promotes joint health

Duralactin (Microlactin): an oral milk-based anti-inflammatory

Welactin (Fish Oil): a natural anti-inflammatory

You can find Duralactin through online sources.  The remainder of the supplements we carry in the clinic.

For a more comprehensive look at mobility supplements, visit this blog 


There are several widely used pain medications in veterinary medicine.  These medications aim to reduce inflammation and interfere with the pain pathways in the body.

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory): This class of medication is highly effective at reducing inflammation and tends to be the basis of medical management for arthritic dogs. They can also be used in cats but because cats can be particularly sensitive to this class of medication, long term use is done with caution.  At this time we prescribe Rimadyl, Ostifen, Metacam, Onsior, and Galliprant.

Gabapentin: This medication is helpful in cases of arthritis by altering the way the body senses pain. It is used in both dogs and cats in both short term and long term situations.

Tramadol: This medication also alters the way the body senses pain.  If this medication is used, it is used in our dog patients only and the response to this medication is variable.

Steroids: In select cases, steroids are used for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. This medication is more common place for long-term management in cats as well as with dogs who have immune-mediated arthritis.


Acupuncture can be a useful tool in managing arthritis. Our very own Dr. Karen Christopherson provides this therapy to our patients. Please read more about acupuncture in our following Blog.


Therapeutic laser is another therapy that we provide for our arthritic patients. You can learn more about this in our following Blog.

Physical Therapy:

There are several facilities within the Twin Cities area that provide veterinary rehabilitation and physical therapy.  The goal of this type of program is to improve flexibility, strength, and coordination.  Underwater treadmills can also be used to provide low-impact physical activity.


When medical management fails to improve our pet’s comfort and function, surgical intervention can be considered. During a consultation with a veterinary surgeon one can explore options such as arthroscopy, joint fusion, and denervation.

If you believe your cat or dog could benefit from one or more of these interventions, please contact us to discuss your pet’s care in more detail.

Written by:

Dr. Jen Seidl

Grand Avenue Veterinary Center

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