Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, (DJD) is a chronic, progressive disease. The disease develops as the cartilage in the joints breaks down from years of activity and wear and tear on the joints. Arthritis is a general term used to describe joint inflammation, while osteoarthritis refers specifically to a chronic and permanent deterioration of the cartilage, which causes bones to rub against each other and produce pain and joint stiffness. There are many different types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common type in dogs. Osteoarthritis affects approximately 20 to 25% of dogs.
It can be difficult to recognize when your dog is suffering from osteoarthritis as symptoms vary from dog to dog and often accompany older dogs, who are slowing down their activity naturally for other reasons. One of the most easily recognizable signs is a reluctance to do certain activities that were once enjoyable for the dog, although this change can be subtle. Your dog may change its interest in fetch or running and may exhibit a decreased desire to exercise. Stiffness of gait, especially after long periods of inactivity, walking up or downstairs, or in cold weather, can also be a symptom of osteoarthritis. The joint pain associated with the disease can make even the simplest activities painful and challenging for a dog.
Causes of osteoarthritis vary widely, and it occurs naturally in many older dogs without additional pressures. However, problems such as traumatic injury, hip or elbow dysplasia, obesity, or diabetes can contribute to the disease and its progression. Various genetic disorders can also make certain dogs more at risk of developing osteoarthritis and cause the natural cushions between joints to break down faster.
Many signs and causes of osteoarthritis are often associated with other diseases and illnesses common in dogs, which can make it difficult to identify. Your veterinarian should be consulted if you are concerned about your dog’s joint health and suspect an osteoarthritis diagnosis.
Galliprant (grapiprant tablets) has been available on the market since March 2016, when it was approved by the US FDA. It is an oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that treats pain associated with osteoarthritis in dogs. Like all NSAIDs for dogs, it requires a prescription and should only be administered under veterinary supervision.
Most veterinarians will prescribe a common NSAID for a dog suffering from osteoarthritis. NSAIDs are primarily prescribed to manage pain and inflammation from many ailments, including osteoarthritis. While most NSAIDs work by inhibiting the enzyme that produces inflammation, Galliprant targets the receptor of inflammatory lipids. All NSAIDs come with many potential negative side effects, but Galliprant is much safer than many popular NSAIDs currently on the market. Additionally, studies have found that many dogs who weren't able to tolerate other conventional NSAIDs could tolerate Galliprant without any issues.
Because all NSAIDs interrupt the natural inflammatory pathway, they can cause serious side effects in dogs. The side effects associated with Galliprant include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, bloody stool, and even decreased activity levels. These complications worsen if Galliprant is taken in combination with other NSAIDs for dogs. NSAID overdoses are rare but do occur in dogs and can happen more easily than pet owners like to think, especially for those NSAIDs that are sold in the format of flavored treats. For these reasons, pet owners are encouraged to explore alternative pain treatment options for their pets.
Popular supplements for joint health in both humans and dogs start with Glucosamine. The natural compound of sugar (glucose) and glutamine, promotes the growth and repair of cartilage to protect the joints. Glucosamine supplements also serve as a preventive to preserve good joint health. Other key ingredients included in joint supplements are Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, and Magnesium, and some believe that Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can help repair the tissue in joints. Adding a supplement such as omega-3 fatty acids can also significantly reduce osteoarthritis pain.
All veterinarians will encourage dog owners to consider the importance of diet in their dog’s health. Many dogs begin to struggle with weight issues as they grow older and less active, and this problem can compound itself as joints begin to ache under the added weight. If your dog can’t exercise to keep trim, a change in diet makeup or caloric intake might be necessary. Additionally, some believe that a raw food diet may help promote good joint health.
CBD has a multitude of benefits for dogs, but its anti-inflammatory properties can assist dogs who are struggling with pain in their joints due to osteoarthritis. While it is not a cure for joint damage and cartilage loss, it can alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis pain and anxiety, which keeps dogs up and playing. Talking to a veterinarian about the benefits associated with giving your dog daily doses of CBD is important, and should be a pet owner’s first step in trying CBD for dogs.
Much like Galliprant and other NSAIDs for dogs currently on the market, CBD supplements are great for managing pain and limiting its development. Unlike those prescription NSAIDs, though, CBD overdoses are practically unheard of, and side effects of CBD dosing do not include bloody diarrhea or vomiting. CBD can also be used in combination with other pain management methods, including common NSAIDs, like Galliprant. Consult a veterinarian about the right dose for your dog’s size, medical history, and dietary habits before giving your dog any medicine, including CBD, and be sure to monitor your dog’s reaction to the change in treatment.