In a breed predisposition for developing degenerative joint disease, regular exercise, good nutrition and supplemental support may moderate or stall the further development of arthritis, hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis and anterior cruciate disease. Once DJD does surface, the same principles can be used to treat and control the process of joint deterioration. This involves the use of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory (pain killing) compounds and condroprotective agents. Even without a genetic predisposition to arthritis, many dogs will develop joint disease for the same reasons that we humans do. Extra weight and lack of exercise will take its toll as the dog ages. Longevity studies in animals prove time and time again that lean body weight and exercise is associated with sustained health and increased resistance to disease, including arthritis and cancer.
Many herbal products have anti-inflammatory properties similar to NSAID pharmaceutical drugs, yet do not appear to cause the same gastrointestinal irritation in animals, making herbal products ideal in treating degenerative joint disease.
Bromelain and Curcumin for Canine Degenerative Joint Disease
Bromelain is an extract of pineapple stems which has the property of decreasing circulating immune-complexes. Presently, there is no Western medicine which is its equal in its action. Since many of the complications and the direct initiation of the immune damage may be caused by the elevated immune-complexes in some forms of degenerative joint disease, bromelain may be an important key in helping to control the progression of joint disease in animals.
Curcumin (turmeric). Curcumin (the yellow pigment of turmeric plants) is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Bromelain and curcumin have a synergistic effect whereby they assist the absorption of each other from the gastrointestinal tract, increasing their potency. Because of this benifit it is recommended that they be given together. Many health food stores carry combinations of bromelain and curcumin. An example dose for dogs with degenerative joint disease, would be to give 400-500 mg of Bromelain with 400-500 mg of Curcumin twice a day.
Reduce Pain, Inflammation and Discomfort. Feverfew is a natural nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory plant (NSAID) compound without the side-effects of prescription drugs. It can be used occasionally in dogs with arthritic pain to help reduce inflammation and discomfort. It is not recommend for routine or long term use; but, if your dog has a flare up of pain from arthritis and you have feverfew on hand, an example dose would be to give 1 capsule every 8-12 hours as needed, for up to 5 days, this would be considered a safe short term dosage schedule.
Ginger and Mustard
Aintinflammatory Herbs to Relieve Pain. Another alternative to the NSAID drugs with fewer side-effects is to use powdered ginger and powdered mustard (1/8 teaspoon each) 2-3 times a day mixed into a meal. These herbs can also be dissolved in a small amount of vinegar (1 teaspoon, mixed with 1 tablespoon of honey and diluted with an ounce of warm water) and given orally.
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