Canine Osteoarthritis: Understanding the Challenge and Embracing Solutions

Canine osteoarthritis (OA) is a common yet often underdiagnosed condition in dogs, significantly impacting their quality of life. As a degenerative joint disease, it's characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Understanding its prevalence, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for pet owners and veterinarians alike.

Clark Road Animal Clinic is among the first animal hospitals to offer a new treatment for canine osteoarthritis, Librela. Librela is the first and only monthly monoclonal antibody injection to control osteoarthritis (OA) pain in dogs. OA is a chronic and painful condition of the joints, and it can severely hinder your dog’s health and well-being when left untreated. Click here to learn more about this new treatment.

The Prevalence of Canine Osteoarthritis

Statistics reveal the widespread nature of this condition. Research suggests that approximately 20% of dogs over the age of one year are affected by osteoarthritis, with the prevalence increasing with age. In dogs over seven years old, the incidence of OA can be as high as 80%. Large breed dogs are particularly susceptible, but it's a condition that can affect canines of all sizes and breeds.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Early detection of OA can be challenging, as dogs often mask their pain. However, there are tell-tale signs that pet owners can watch for:

  • Limping or Lameness: This may be more noticeable after rest or after long periods of activity.
  • Difficulty Moving: Struggling to get up, lying down, or reluctance to climb stairs.
  • Behavioral Changes: Less enthusiasm for play, irritability, or changes in interaction.
  • Joint Stiffness: Especially noticeable in the morning or in cold weather.
  • Licking, Chewing, or Biting: Particularly around the joints, indicating discomfort.

Top Treatment Options for Canine Osteoarthritis

Managing OA in dogs involves a multifaceted approach focusing on reducing pain and inflammation, improving joint function, and enhancing quality of life.

  • Monoclonal Antibody Treatment: The newest treatment option, Librela, is a long-acting monthly injection given by a veterinarian that has fewer side effects than NSAIDs. Librela is now available at Clark Road Animal Clinic.
  • Supplements: Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can support cartilage health and reduce discomfort.
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation: Techniques like massage, hydrotherapy, and specific exercises can improve joint flexibility and muscle strength.
  • Laser Therapy: As previously discussed, laser therapy can be highly effective in reducing inflammation and pain in osteoarthritic joints.
  • Acupuncture: Some pet owners opt for acupuncture as a complementary treatment to alleviate pain and improve overall joint function.
  • Surgical Options: In severe cases, surgical interventions like joint replacement may be considered.

How does Librela work, and what makes it better than some other treatments?

Librela is different from other treatments in many ways. First, it’s a long-acting monthly injection given by your veterinarian for pain control, so you won’t have to worry about giving daily oral medications. Second, it’s a monoclonal antibody that targets a key culprit of OA pain and works in a similar way to the body’s own natural antibodies. Third, it has a much lower occurrence of side effects than some other OA medications. You can read more about how Librela works and its many benefits here

What if my dog already takes medication for OA?

Every dog responds differently to treatment for OA pain. Your dog’s OA pain management plan may be a combination of weight management, exercise, and medication. Ask your veterinarian if Librela should be a part of your dog’s pain management plan and make sure to inform them of your dog’s current medications. If you’d like to find out whether this new treatment is right for your dog, give us a call today at (941) 922-5007. Click here to request an appointment online.

As always, working closely with a veterinarian to tailor a specific treatment plan for your dog is crucial for the best outcomes. As research continues to advance, new treatment options may become available, offering further hope for our canine companions suffering from this condition.