Tramadol For Arthritic Dogs

Treating Your Dog’s Arthritis With Tramadol

There is nothing that will make you feel more helpless than watching your dog suffer from arthritis. It makes you want to carry them everywhere so they don’t have to feel pain.

Unfortunately, arthritis is an all too common disease that our loved ones face. It’s a degenerative condition, which means that it gets worse over time characterized by painful inflammation and stiffness of their joints.

It’s when all of that tennis ball and Frisbee chasing finally catches up with your pet. The fascia and ligaments have stretched, causing the joints to rub on each other. This causes the osteoblast to create new bone matter in places it should be. The osteoclasts then try to do their job and break it down.
It is a crippling experience for humans, and even worse for your pet as many of the traditional treatments for humans are not available pets.

Signs And Symptoms

Observation is your best friend in diagnosing your pooch. Are they having more difficulty accomplishing their day-to-day activities? Are they having difficulty getting on the couch? Going upstairs? Getting in and out of the car? Do they seem hesitant to do things they used to do?

Maybe they don’t want to run as much anymore, and old games that used to be their favorite, no longer fascinate them.

The onset of arthritis tends to be a slow process, and many owners don’t catch it until their dog appears lame — whether holding up a paw, or limping.

Here some more symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Refusing To Obey (or move)
  • Whining/Whimpering
  • Licking The Joints
  • Slow to move

Larger dogs are especially susceptible. Increase size and weight puts more stress on joints.
But ultimately, your dog’s first line of defense comes down to its owner. If you think your dog could be suffering from arthritis, getting them treatment early on in the degenerative process can greatly reduce the amount of pain they have to suffer.

Preventing Arthritis

The kingpin to arthritis is A) healthy cartilage and B) no genetic abnormalities. If your dog suffers from hip or elbow dysplasia, for example, it is highly likely that they will eventually progress into degenerative joint disease– no matter what you do.

However, if your dog does not have other conditions causing the increased strain on their joints, you may be able to help “stem the tide”.

There currently aren’t any medications on the market that help rebuild the cartilage, however there are some supplements that show promise. The key is to get your dog on these supplements early. In fact, some large breed owners have started using these supplements as soon as their pets move out of the puppy phase.

Typically, these supplements use a combination of Glucosamine, Cosequin, Tumeric and Vitamin C. There are some dog-specific formulas on the market which seem to have positive results for many dog owners.

The goal is to not “treat” arthritis, but to supplement their cartilage and ligaments and help rebuild them, preventing the bone damage in the first place.
If your dog is already showing signs, you can certainly try the supplementation, however, it is likely that it will need to be supplemented by other medications in order to help your pet get the immediate relief they need.

Types Of Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an immune-mediated disease. In other words the body’s immune system thinks that part of the body is a foreign object and attacks it. The antibodies bind with the protein, causing complexes which are then deposited in the joint.
As the body tries to remove these complexes, it also removes part of the joint.
And so the cycle continues, weakening the joints and leaving your best friend in agonizing pain.
The Synovial fluid can be examined by a vet to identify if the dog has rheumatoid arthritis. If there is a positive diagnosis, immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed to slow the damage (in addition to some of the pain managing medications listed in this article)

Degenerative Arthritis

Most of this article has focused on degenerative arthritis which occurs when a pet’s cartilage has broken down and the bone is rubbing on bone. This can be a result of overuse or a secondary problem arising from a genetic disorder such as hip dysplasia.

Treating Arthritis With Tramadol For Dogs

Veterinarians will sometimes suggest using a strong painkiller to help your dog with their arthritis.

Tramadol is one such analgesic (painkiller) which acts by blocking the pain.
It works by binding to the mu-opioid receptors and preventing re-uptake of serotonin by the brain. However, this mechanism can be addicting and lead to a dependence on this medication.

Additionally, it can have several potential side effects, including seizures. It is important to discuss your dog’s health history with your vet before starting on Tramadol. Their dosage will be adjusted during treatment to make sure your pet is living pain-free, but to also skirt any side effects.

Tramadol is a very effective medication. It is so effective that it is often used for cancer and other end-of-life pallative care.  When your pet is in severe pain, this medication can be a god-send of relief and can – in my experience – add several years of pain-free living to your pet’s life.

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