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Arthritis Medications

My 9 year old , 85 lb Lab is painfully arthritic and my GSP ,age 10 ,is showing increased stiffness and soreness after easy exercise. e.g. regular 2 mile hikes over easy ground. Both dogs are well fleshed but not heavy at all. They swim daily in good weather. The Lab has been on Rimadyl ( 100mg , once a day) for 3 months without significant improvement. He is OFA excellent, by the way, but had a comminuted femur at age 2+ yrs, and circlage wires are still in place. He doesn't tolerate buffered asprin at all, having a bleeding ulcer after 2 mos. on 1 buffered asprin a day with food! The GSP ( 55 lbs) tolerates buffered asprin well, and is on 1 a day without significant improvement. Your advice on the next step in medication or alternatives to this regimen would be appreciated

I believe the first thing I would try is using Rimadyl on both dogs twice daily and see what kind of response I got (I typically try a 2 week trial). Another of the newer anti-inflammatories is called Etogesic which is a once a day label, in my experience dogs seem to respond about the same to both drugs. Your vet has a product called Adequan which is given as a series of injections and quite helpful in many cases. Other products like chondroitin/glucosamine combinations given orally help some dogs with long term maintenance of arthritis, my favorite is called Cosequin. You'll also hear about people giving ester-vitamin c to their dogs. Although there is no scientific evidence of any benefit, I have some clients that think it helps their dog. In severe cases I sometimes prescribe some of the human pain medications like piroxicam but it can be hard on a dogs stomach. Good luck, sounds like you are a caring owner.

Dr. Mike

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