I have a 14-year-old spaniel that suffers from very bad arthritis. He has also just been diagnosed with chronic kidney failure so can no longer take his normal pain medication. I am so worried we won’t be able to control his painful joints. Is there anything we can give him that won’t cause further damage to his kidneys?
Paul Manktelow advises…
Firstly, I am sorry to hear about your dog’s recent diagnosis. Sadly, issues with the function of the internal organs can be common in dogs as they reach old age, as can the development of muscle loss and stiff painful joints. I imagine your dog was on a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which are very effective at controlling the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. However, they aren’t recommended if there are health issues, particularly with the kidneys and the stomach.
There are, however, some other treatment options that it would be worth chatting through with your vet. Certain drugs that don’t have an effect on the kidneys could be substituted for the NSAIDs, and while they might not be as effective, they might at least take the pain from the inflamed joints down to a manageable level. These drugs can be used together, so you might want to try different combinations to see what works the best.
I’m also a great fan of joint supplements, particularly those containing green-lipped mussel extract and hyaluronic acid, which I’ve seen work wonders in older dogs. Most of these joint supplements have ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin so you might want to look for a product that has a combination of all these ingredients. These supplements work by helping to reduce inflammation, promote healing and increase water retention in the joint, which in turn, provides more cushioning.
As well as drugs and supplements, there are various lifestyle adjustments you can make to ensure optimum health. You will want to balance the diet so that it’s suitable for both renal and joint issues, and it’s best to speak to your vet about this so you know what to put in and what to keep out of your dog’s food to ensure the organs are working well and optimum weight is maintained. Finally, you might want to consider other therapies, such as passive physiotherapy, acupuncture or cold-laser therapy as other forms of additional treatment.