LET'S START WITH THE BEST QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN
We all take medicine now and then to help with joints and aches, but what do we do for our pets? Better yet, are the options we have for ourselves safe for our pets? It is so common for all mammals, (dogs, cats, humans), to get achey joints as we age. This happens for several reasons: the cartilage of the joint breaks down and cannot rebuild itself as well, diseases such as arthritis take over, and injuries through out life cause excessive scar build up inside the joint. What ever the reason we want to be good parents and recognize the signs when they come.
So one of our readers recently asked about the use of NSAIDs in her pet. NSAID stands for Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. You might not recognize this "medical term," but you might be interested to know that you probably take an NSAID multiple times monthly or yearly. Ibuprofen is an NSAID that is sold in generic and commercial product form, ie: Advil and others. Although most human NSAIDs are to high of a strength for dogs, or toxic at any strength, there are several types of NSAIDs on the market for dogs and cats, (carporfen sold as Rimadyl for dogs is a great example). Just as many animal doctors prescribe and recommend NSAIDs for dogs as do medical doctors for humans, but that does not mean they are the right drug to use at the first sign of achey joints in your pets. Let's begin with what they do and when we should use them.
1. NSAIDs are temporary pain relievers that prolong the actual problem
NSAIDs are just that: relievers of inflammation. NSAIDs simply stop the bodies recognition of inflammation in the body, thus reducing the reaction of this inflammation which is pain. This, however, does not stop the injury or heal the body. What does this mean for your pet? When your dog, Elmo, no longer feels the pain he will begin to move more, run harder or jump higher. Great, right? Not if the body is still trying to heal the affected area. If the injury still exists then moving and jumping just causes more injury, longer healing time, and you guessed it - more inflammation. Get ready to stay on NSAIDs longer than expected. This is where we need to talk about the side effects of NSAIDs that we don't want.
2. Short term effects of NSAIDs in the body:
Unfortunately, there are many. Let's focus on just a few for the sake of reading, and we will post a few article links that discuss the side effects more in depth.
So, why use NSAID's? Honestly, I haven't prescribed NSAIDs for joint issues in a long time. They have one job that must be confined to short term use only, and that is to relieve unbearable pain caused by acute inflammation from sudden injury. Rachel P, our expert opinion is that you should ask for more natural options to relieve inflammation in the body and joints for Elmo. This may mean that the discomfort doesn't stop immediately today, but will be reversed over time by the rebuilding and proper maintenance of the joint and cartilage. Looking for natural choice for joint wellness? Read our latest blog on joint health, or begin your pet on the path to natural joint health with JOINT MOBILIITY.
I love to hear from our readers on the subject of natural choices for animal wellness. You are the greatest encouragement to those who are nervous about getting away from conventional pharmaceutical options that come with so many long term side effects. Let Rachel P know what you have had success with.