As dog owners, we only want what is best for our dogs, so it is always advisable to consult your vet about any concerns for your dog’s health.
However always remember that vets are just people and that whilst their knowledge is great it is not perfect nor complete.
arthritis where you as the owner will have a better instinctive feel for what treatments work, what medications are well tolerated and effective and of course what treatments you as the owner are comfortable giving.
I recognize that there is danger of misconstruing my message here.
As a vet for almost two decades, I hold a great deal respect for my fellow veterinarians. I want every dog owner to listen very, very well to what their vet has to say.
However I would also like every dog owner to be informed and to participate in every discussion about their dog's health.
Gather as much information as you can about your dog’s arthritis or joint problems, in particular information about any treatments that your dog will receive, as these treatments may well be lifelong.
Ask lots of questions and think carefully about the answers.
Within this it is perfectly okay to ask your vet if a certain treatment is safe or not.
A 'standard' treatment may not always be the safest treatment option and it is up to you (yes, you) to decide what is an acceptable treatment risk for your dog.
A case in point is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs in the treatment of dog arthritis.
NSAIDs are the standard medication used to treat the symptoms of moderate to advanced dog arthritis.
These drugs work by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory action of COX-enzymes. There is no doubt that NSAIDs are very effective in suppressing inflammation in the joints.
However in some dogs they also cause side effects which can severely compromise your dog's health.
These side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, anemia and even death.
Now, I am not telling every dog owner that NSAIDs should never be considered, just that these drugs are not safe for every dog.
You should ask your vet whether NSAIDs are safe for your dog and if there are ways to increase the safety of these drugs. Your vet may suggest blood tests of the liver and kidneys before and after use, which will find out if the organs are healthy enough to deal with the drug’s effects.
You can read more about the side effects of the NSAIDs in my book "The Risks of Prescription Medicines for Dog Arthritis" on www.dogarthritisplan.com
Another question dog owners should ask is whether there are other treatment options.
Of course there are countless treatments available but not all will be safe or effective. Your veterinarian or nearby rehabilitation center may be able to provide other services such as acupuncture, trigger point or other physical therapy.
Again, research widely and come to your vet with a whole bunch of questions :)
Of course you are very welcome to read my blog and you can ask me lots of questions about dog arthritis. Start by reading my free ebook at www.dogarthritisplan.com and we can talk from there :) Good luck.
You can also check out his Facebook page Dog Arthritis Doc.
Risks of Prescription Medicines « Dog Arthritis Plan
Articles by Christopher Durin:
Tell-tale Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis
Nutrition and Dog Arthritis
Keeping Your Dog’s Muscles Healthy and Strong
Talk To Me About Arthritis
Acupuncture Is Not Voodoo
Don't Forget The Physical Therapy