FAQ – How do you treat hind leg arthritis?

Regardless which joint is affected, or if the species is canine or human, the principles of treating arthritis remains the same. The important thing to remember is that there is hope in the diagnosis, not that we can reverse arthritis, but we can slow the progression down so that there is less pain and more movement for your dog to enjoy.

There are lots of treatment options available to you if your dog gets a diagnosis of hip or knee arthritis. Once the diagnosis is made your vet should talk to you about many options of treatment usually the first of which is pharmaceutical intervention. Pain relief medicine is crucial in managing the dogs symptoms so that it allows for movement. The more the dog moves the better for the joint mobility because less movement causes more stiffness and more pain. Movement, when specifically for strengthening, allow the muscles around the arthritic joint to be more support and more stable so that there is less pain. 

The next thing to talk to your vet about is a supplement for their joints. Joint supplements are really helpful to optimise joint health so that there’s less wear and tear inside the joint, thereby slowing down the arthritic process. If the joint supplement decreases the joint inflammation this can also help to decrease pain. Joint supplements will not make muscles stronger but they can decrease inflammation in a joint and decrease pain.

Antinol

Antinol is my choice for a joint supplement for my dogs

Next, try home modifications. These include using floormat to decrease slipping and injury if you have tiled or floor board surfaces. It can also include adding stairs so they can go up on a couch or a bed without having to jump. Also this may include changing their bedding. It is really important that their joints are supported well while they sleep, this will decrease stiffness and pain when they wake up. My go to brand is called Henry Hottie and it’s available in Australia and I love that their products don’t contain the nasties that other bedding do. Now that’s not to say your dog will actually use the bed there’s no guarantee and they will use it!! They may still like to sleep on the floor, it may be more comfortable at times, I still think it’s really crucial that we have a good betting option available to them so they can use it when they feel they need it most.

Fourthly,  a bit more on movement. Walking every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, helps to stretch out tight muscles and helps those joints be lubricated, which decrease stiffness and pain. Strengthening exercises can be incorporated into your daily walk or you can allocate 10 minutes a day to help strengthen your dogs muscles which will increase their function and also decrease their pain. It will be the best 10 minutes you invest in your dog! Unless a walk is on a hill, upstairs then there is no strengthening component to a walk. Walking is great  for their joints and muscles, as mentioned above, but also for their brain, bladder, bowel, heart and lungs.

Walking is important but you need to be mindful of how well your dog tolerates it. 

As a dog gets older there is age related muscle loss this also happens if you humans. In arthritis the surrounding muscles of that arthritic joint will get weak and therefore cause pain and make activity harder. So you might notice your dog has difficulty getting up from the floor going upstairs, jumping up on the bed or the couch, they may become slower on their walk, they may even want to sit on their walk. These signs are often the result of muscle loss due to ageing or arthritis. To help them regain some of their function the easiest way is to do just 10 minutes a day of strengthening exercises!

dog strengthening exercise

Strengthening exercises are really easy to do at home.

Lastly, we really need to be having a good look at our dog and recognising if they are overweight. We should have a frank conversation with our vet and be ready to hear the hard truth. A dog that is overweight is statistically shown to live up to 2 years less than a dog at a healthy weight. Further we know that fat tissue increases inflammatory processes as well as mechanical forces to make arthritis progress faster. So talk with your vet about a weight management plan. 

If you want to find out more about strengthening exercises, feel free to join my FREE Strong and Steady Canines Community Group on Facebook

Here’s to helping your dog live and move well,

Kylie 💕🐾

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