to the Pet Arthritis Resource Center
Arthritis in Pets
X-rays can show
up most (but not all) conditions affecting the bony structures of
the joints, limbs and spine, and some soft tissue structures as
well. I am often asked why vets need to heavily sedate or anaesthetize
an animal for this. For the x-ray to provide as much useful information
as possible, your pet must be still during the process. Modern anaesthetics
are very safe, and most practices now have a nurse monitoring the
animal under anesthetic constantly. Trying to interpret a poor x-ray
can sometimes be just as dangerous as guesswork. So if your vet
recommends anaesthetizing your pet to x-ray him, there are good
reasons why this is helpful in confirming a diagnosis.
are useful for looking at for instance, increased white blood cell
count for supurative arthritis, Rheumatoid factor, and anti-nuclear
antibody for auto-immune mediated arthritises.
of limited use as far as the bodies bony structures go, as ultrasound
waves only penetrate the bone very shallowly.
- a tiny camera inserted into the joint - a little more specialized,
but becoming more prevalent these days. Can show changes in the
cartilage which may not show up in x-rays, because cartilage is
not mineralized with calcium.
- a dye opaque to x-rays is injected into the joint, and an x-ray
taken. This could show up particle of cartilage broken off from
the joint surface - or joint mice as they are otherwise known.
This is not
a comprehensive list of diagnostic techniques, but covers most of
them currently used in modern veterinary medicine. Next time I'll
start discussing the treatments currently used in conventional veterinary
Rimadyl and other NSAIDs
Rimadyl is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is similar
to drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. While it is quite effective at
treating the pain, it does absolutely nothing to treat the disease
or rehabilitate the joint. Furthermore, it has potentially lethal
Glucosamine is very promising in the treatment of arthritis and
hip dysplasia in cats, dogs, and horses. Tests have shown it is
effective in easing the pain and aiding in the rehabilitation of damaged cartilage.
More information on treating
pets with glucosamine can be found here.
Guide to Glucosamine Products for Pets
information on arthritis in pets