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Joint diet food could help ease dog’s pain

Hi, Dr. Johns:
I have an 11-year-old female dog that has severe arthritis throughout her spine, hips and shoulders. She was on carprofen and tramadol, but it wasn’t working. Now I have her on Prednisone.
Is there anything else I can do for her so she isn’t in pain so much?
—Thank you, Karen

Dear Karen,
I do not know the specifics of why your dog is in such tremendous pain, but there are some all natural supplements that could help your dog that would be safe to do in addition to the pain medicine that she is on.

The first thing I like to try is changing the diet to Science Diet J/d. J/d stands for “joint diet.” It is chock full of ingredients that target the joints and aids in reducing inflammation from arthritis. There are so many nutrients in this food that it will replace any glucosamine or chondroitin supplement you can give in a pill. Glucosamine and chondroitin are building blocks for healthy cartilage.

It also has high levels of EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) to preserve joint cartilage and help maintain joint function. It has high levels of fish oil that serve as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. If your dog is not on a special diet for any other health concerns, please give this food a try. It can make a big difference in some dogs.

I would also begin Adequan injections. Your veterinarian can get you started on this. Adequan is an injectable polysulfated glycosaminoglycans. This is an ingredient that the body uses to make cartilage. It helps promote the formation of healthy cartilage and joint fluid. It also inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage and it decreases inflammation.

This injection is given once or twice a week to begin with. After four to six weeks or when results are seen, the injections are reduced to every two weeks then every four weeks, continuing to reduce the frequency until you reach maintenance.

Maintenance varies from dog to dog. I have had some clients tell me that they know it has been exactly six weeks because their dog starts to limp again, but some dogs maintain with injections just once every six months or so.

These are the two treatments that I would begin with. If, for some reason you cannot feed the J/d, then I would use a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement. Be sure it has MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) in it. The MSM has an anti-inflammatory effect that makes a big difference.

But don’t give this supplement instead of the food just because it is easier than buying new food. I really believe the J/d diet will give you better results if fed consistently.

Have a question for Dr. Johns? E-mail her at [email protected] Write to Pet Peeves, P.O. Box 2949, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549. Johns is a Niceville veterinarian.

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