Arthritis, hip dysplasia and kneecap dislocation in dogs and cats and what to do about it.
Shiba Inu Puppies from LittleWolf Industries
Arthritis in cats and dogs
And People!
By J.R. Rogers - February 2002, Issue 1

July 2005
Dear People,

This section came about because I was looking for a better Glucosamine product for myself. Your WebMommy Susan, breeder of Shibas, has arthritic hands and fingers and if I don't take this miracle product, I cannot type or take care of my puppies without a great deal of pain. 

Since starting with Glucosamine, I've not only regained the use of my hands, but I've also, almost totally gotten rid of the pain in my left hip/lower back and am now working on healing the right one. I don't take any other pain medications or prescription medicine. I'm not a doctor. I can only tell you my own experiences and this stuff really works!

UPDATE Aug. 2009! since I first wrote this information I've reached my goal of pain-free hips and back. This stuff works! I don't know when it happened because the pain just gradually went away, but I've been pain-free for quite a while, at least for the last few years.

If you hurt from Arthritis and you don't at least try this product, you are not doing yourself any favors. Get one bottle and try it. you will be amazed at the results and how good you feel.

In my internet search for a more effective Glucosamine product, I happened upon a website selling Syn-flex and was amazed at the information about dogs and cats and how to help them, as well. And, on top of that, it costs so little to do it. Often, the medications for humans is harmful and even fatal for a dog,  examples: aspirin should not be given to cats and chocolate, of all things, is a poison for dogs! Glucosamine is safe

I was surprised that Glucosamine has helped so many animals as well as people, even though I knew that my friend gives it to her older horses. It hadn't even occured to me that it might be so helpful to the dogs that develop knee and hip problems. I have to share this with you because it has been a blessing to me and may be the answer you have been looking for, for your ailing pets and maybe even yourself.

If you need to ask me any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

This is a letter from a dog lady who got Syn-flex:

"Our 12-year old min-schnauzer was having a real hard time walking and trying to go up and down our steps to go outside. The vet gave him an arthritis medication but I was reluctant to use it. I checked all the information and testimonials on Syn-flex and decided to give it a try. It seemed to work within 2-3 days with our Bunky. Where he could barely walk before, he was almost running with the other younger dogs within a week. At the same time I was using the product for my arthritis in my knee and felt a huge improvement immediately. When we ran out of the product I didn't re-order, thinking I could some like products from the pet stores. No way did they work the same. I just received my first re-order of Syn-flex, Bunky has taken 3 doses and is again his lively, playful self that he was before when he took it. THANK YOU for this wonderful product.

Sincerely, Susan

1. Pet Arthritis, an Introduction
2. The Signs of Arthritis in Pets
3. Glucosamine for dogs and cats
4. Canine Hip Dysplasia
5. Rimadyl Warnings

Pet Arthritis, an Introduction

     Approximately 25-30% of family pets suffer from osteoarthritis. The stiffness, pain and swelling in a pet with Arthritis is really no different than what you as a human being would experience. Arthritis in pets, as is humans, is a debilitating disease that greatly affects your pet's health and well-being. 

     With the onset of Arthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), a happy, playful Fido or Fluffy can quickly turn listless and pain ridden. 

Types of Pet Arthritis

•    Osteoarthritis (general term, also known as OA)
•    Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
•    Hip Dysplasia
•    Elbow (dysplasia)
•    Knee (dysplasia)
•    Knee (stifle joint)
•    Osteochondrosis
•    Hypertrophic arthritis
•    Shoulder (degeneration)
•    Wrist Arthritis (carpi)
•    Kneecap (dislocation) 

What's really going on to cause this pain in your pet?

     The physiological changes that occur in pets are virtually identical to that of the human body. Essentially, it is the "breakdown" of the (protective) cartilage that covers or protects the ends of bones at the joint.

Primary Vs. Secondary Osteoarthritis.

     Since pets by their nature are very active, it follows that they are constantly subjecting themselves to trauma. Where trauma is the cause of the onset of one of many (osteoarthritis) conditions (as opposed to hereditary conditions), the course of the disease is extremely rapid. 

     While a human may sustain a traumatic injury that does not develop into an arthritic condition for many years, quite the opposite is true with pets. Unlike humans, most of pet Arthritis develops almost immediately after trauma to their bodies. The onset can and is often within weeks of even a minor injury as opposed to years for a human. This is referred to as secondary arthritis compared to the more usual primary arthritis in humans. 

What are the signs of arthritis in pets?

•    Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play 
•    Limping 
•    Lagging behind on walks 
•    Difficulty rising from a resting position 
•    Yelping in pain when touched 
•    A personality change 
•    resisting touch 

The typical Veterinarian response

If your pet is showing any of the above signs, it is always a good idea to take your pet to the Vet. They will be able to tell you exactly which type of arthritis your pet has (listed above). 

A typical response to these conditions (if diagnosed) by a veterinarian is to prescribe NSAIDS (Rimadyl, aspirin, aleve, motrin, etc.) for pain. In the more severe cases, steroids or even surgery may be suggested. 

The use of NSAIDS (and even veterinarians will agree, is not without some element of risk. Just as in the case of humans, pets run the risk of side effects even though they do get some pain relief. It goes without saying that the use of steroids and/or surgery poses even greater risks.

Side effects of NSAIDS include stomach ulcers and liver damage. COX-II Inhibitors have been shown to increase chance of heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, while these treatments do reduce the pain, they do nothing to treat the disease. 

There is an alternative...Glucosamine
Glucosamine as a Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

     More progressive veterinarians who are knowledgeable about recent studies, clinical trials, and overwhelmingly positive patient response will know that Glucosamine not only treats pain, but also rehabilitates damaged cartilage. While of course, the comfort of your pet is paramount in your mind, Glucosamine (in the right form and quality combined with other nutritional and synergistic ingredients) not only ends the pain quickly, but it goes to the root of the arthritis and stops its progression.

     A quality glucosamine formula with a good mix of synergistic ingredients can begin to rehabilitate damaged cartilage and reduce pain within 7-14 days. It must be stressed that these kinds of results will only be seen if you are using an extremely high-grade liquid glucosamine formulation. The use of pills or capsules is not going to produce these kinds of results. A pharmaceutical grade liquid formula is recommended for maximum effectiveness, absorption, and minimum time to relief.

     It is also important to understand that in order to maximize both the impact on pain relief and rehabilitation, other ingredients are essential. Those ingredients include: Bromelaine, Boswellin; Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids; and Manganese Ascorbate, among others. These and other ingredients play a major role in both ending pain and in the rebuilding process.

     If your dog or cat is suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia, I would recommend reading "The Consumer's Guide to Glucosamine Products for Pets."

     Glucosamine is a very promising treatment for Arthritis and hip dysplasia in pets and is backed by numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. In these studies, Glucosamine has been shown to rehabilitate cartilage and reduce the progression of arthritis, significantly lessen pain from arthritis, and increase mobility in dogs and cats. However, one glucosamine product can be very different from another.

     When your pet's pain relief and health is at stake, you need to know how to choose between competing products and see through the marketing hype. There are six factors that you need to take into your decision before purchasing any glucosamine product. These are:

•    Amount of glucosamine per daily dose 
•    Type of Glucosamine 
•    Quality of Ingredients 
•    Delivery System 
•    Synergistic Ingredients 
•    Price Per Day 

     It is very important to compare price per day and not price per product, as many companies try to fool you by providing 60 capsules or 32 oz. and not telling you until after you purchased that you must use 6 capsules or 2 oz. per day. Be careful to always compare price per day. 

     Did you know that the absorption rate and bio-availability of the glucosamine in pills is significantly less than that when glucosamine is delivered in liquid form? The "claimed fact" that pills are the only and best way to obtain glucosamine is simply not true. 

According to the Physician's Desk Reference "only 10 to 20% of vitamins and minerals in any pill form is absorbed by the human body." Furthermore, the National Advisory Board states that 100 MG consumed in tablet form translates to a minute stabilized 8.3 MG or 8.3% concentrated in the blood, as compared to 98% in liquid form. 

Glucosamine provided in liquid form is absorbed more quickly, much more fully, and provides greater and longer lasting relief.

Read the full text of The Consumer's Guide to Glucosamine Products for Pets.
Effective Treatments for Canine Hip Dysplasia
By J.R. Rogers 

What is hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a genetic, painful, crippling disease that causes a dog's hip to weaken, deteriorate, and become arthritic. It is a congenital condition and is the leading cause of lameness occurring in the rear legs of dogs. CHD is common in dogs, particularly in certain large and giant breeds, although smaller dogs and cats can suffer from the condition as well. Hip dysplasia it is usually and genetically transferred inherited trait. However, it can occur in dogs whose parents do not have Canine hip dysplasia. 

The signs of Canine hip dysplasia

•    Difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position or in climbing stairs. 
•    Moving both rear legs together while walking
•    A painful reaction to extension of the rear legs
•    Dropping of pelvis after pushing on rump
•    A stilted gait or pelvic swing while walking
•    An aversion to touch 
•    A change in behavior
•    Whining 
•    Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play
•    Lameness after strenuous exercise 
•    Hunching of back to avoid extending the hips when standing 

     It is very important to understand that the only way to accurately diagnose CHD is through X-rays. The above symptoms may also be seen in dogs with normal hips and affected dogs may display none of these symptoms at all.

     Literally, hip dysplasia means "badly formed hip". In order to understand this complex problem it is first necessary to understand the anatomy of the canine hip. This ball and socket joint consists of two basic parts - the acetabulum and the femur. The femur, or thigh bone, consists of the head (the ball) and the neck (the part of the femur that joins the long shaft of the bone to the head). The acetabulum forms the socket part of the joint and it is into this socket that the head of the femur

     In unaffected dogs there is a good fit between ball and socket. However, if ligaments fail to hold the round knob at the head of the thighbone in place in the hip socket the result is a loose, unstable joint, in which the ball of the femur slides free of the hip socket. Swelling, fraying and rupture of the round ligament follows. This laxity causes excessive wear on the cartilage in the hip joint, eventually resulting in arthritis.

-- Read the rest of this article

A Review of Signs of a Potentially Life-threatening Reaction to Rimadyl

•  loss of appetite 
•  refusal to drink 
•  unusual pattern of urination, blood in the urine, sweet-smelling urine, an overabundance of urine 
•  urine accidents in the house 
•  vomiting 
•  diarrhea 
•  black, tarry stools or flecks of blood in the vomit 
•  lethargy, drowsiness, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggressiveness 
•  staggering, stumbling, weakness or partial paralysis, full paralysis, seizures, dizziness, loss of balance 
•  jaundice (yellowing of the skin, mucus membranes and whites of the eyes) 

From Wall Street Journal:
March 13, 2000

Most Arthritic Dogs Do Very Well On This Pill, Except Ones That Die

     You might call it a made-for-TV drug. Approved for human use in the U.S. but not marketed that way, an arthritis medicine called Rimadyl languished for nearly 10 years in developmental limbo, then emerged in a surprising new form: Instead of a human drug, it was now a drug for arthritic dogs. And it became a hit. 

With the aid of slick commercials featuring once-lame dogs bounding happily about, Rimadyl changed the way veterinarians treated dogs. "Clients would walk in and say, 'What about this Rimadyl?' " says George Siemering, who practices in Springfield, Va. 

Today, those TV spots are gone. The reason has to do with dogs like Montana. 

A six-year-old Siberian husky with stiff back legs, Montana hobbled out of a vet's office in Brooklyn, N.Y., six months ago accompanied by his human, Angela Giglio, and a supply of Rimadyl pills. At, first, the drug appeared to work. But then Montana lost his appetite. He went limp, wobbling instead of walking. Finally he didn't walk at all. He ate leaves, vomited, had seizures and, eventually, was put to sleep. An autopsy showed the sort of liver damage associated with a bad drug reaction. 

Pet drugs are big business -- an estimated $3 billion world-wide -- and Rimadyl is one of the bestsellers. It has been given to more than four million dogs in the US and more abroad, brought Pfizer Inc. tens of millions of dollars in sales, and pleased many veterinarians and dog owners. But the drug has also stirred a controversy, with other pet owners complaining that nobody warned them of its risks. 

Montana's owner, Ms. Giglio, is among them. After she informed Pfizer and the Food and Drug administration of her relatively youthful dog's death, Pfizer offered her $440 "as a gesture of good will" and to cover part of the medical costs. Insulted by the offer and a stipulation that she agree to tell no one about the payment except her tax preparer, she refused to sign and didn't take the money. "There's just no way in my conscience or heart I can release them from blame," she says. 

After reports of bad reactions and deaths started streaming in to the FDA, the agency suggested that Pfizer mention "death" as a possible side effect in a warning letter to vets, on labels and in TV ads. Pfizer eventually did use the word with vets and on labels, but when given an ultimatum about the commercials -- mention "death" in the audio or end the ads -- Pfizer chose to drop them. 

Click here for more information on Rimadyl

For more information on treating arthritis in pets with glucosamine, we recommend reading:
The Consumer's Guide to Glucosamine Products for Pets
Information on Glucosamine for treating Arthritis in People 

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