Hello again Sharon,
First, there is nothing wrong with provide palliative pain relief for a dog that is showing discomfort with daily routines. Just as us, elderly dogs do become arthritic with age, struggle with issues like stairs, and we do often find that supportive care can keep the mobile and comfortable in their later years.
Now I appreciate you are uncomfortable with using Rimadyl. I do have to say that as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (an NSAID, so not a steroid), when used appropriately we see very few adverse side effects. So, if used wrong, then it could be dangerous as any drug can be. Still, generally speaking, we use this and similar drugs (ie Metacam, Onsior, Previcox
, etc) every day for dogs and see very little issue with it. So, it would be something to consider trialling him with and potentially pre-treating with an antacid (to offset any stomach
upset) and/or keeping an eye
on his blood parameters (to make sure they are normal).
Otherwise, if you aren't keen to use the NSAIDs like Rimadyl, steroids would be a another option with similar effects (though it tends to have more adverse long term issues). Otherwise, the use of Tramadol as a pain relief options is fine, though it isn't as good for reducing inflammation in the joints.
Further to those, I would note that there are injectable treatments (ie cartrophen) and even laser treatments that can be of benefit for arthritis
in our pets. So, you could consider discussing these with his vet.
As well, there are some nutrient supplements that you could consider starting at this stage. First, we tend to use glucosamine/chondroitin commonly in dogs. This is a nutrient supplement that is available at your vets, pet shops, and health food stores (as capsules, liquids, and even treats
). It works by aiding joint suppleness by helping cartilage replenish itself and blocking enzyme destruction of cartilage in the joint. Often we can find this helpful in animals with mild signs, but it might be enough to take some of the discomfort away from him and help him use the stairs. Normally we give dogs 300mg glucosamine + 50 mg chondroitin a day per 20 kilograms of body weight. So, do consider trying this with him.
Furthermore, we can find benefit using Omega 3 & 6 fish oils in these cases. The anti-inflammatory properties can reduce issues with joint and limb discomfort as our dogs age and can be useful for the long term. In regards ***** ***** we tend to give a daily dose equal to 20mg per pound of their body weight. (For example, a 10lb dog would want 200mg EPA + DHA). This can be offered by capsule but you can also open those fish oil capsules to mix with food.
Finally, there is one more nutrition supplement that could be helpful here called Durlactin. It is another more natural anti-inflammatory support that could help reduce his soreness and inflammation to help him move better. You can read more about this product @ http://www.duralactin.com/products_canine.htm . So, this too would be worth considering for him.
Overall, I agree with you that addressing this chronic discomfort that is making stairs a chore for him is ideal here. That way we can keep him comfortable in his older age for as long as possible. And while I do think there is value in the NSAIDs, if you are not keen then do at least consider adding in some of these nutrient support options or even consider steroids if you find that the Tramadol isn't quite enough for him.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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