Natural Alternatives for Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is a common problem in today's dog and even, surprisingly, in puppies. Having lived with Sophie, a 14 year-old Golden Retriever who has had arthritis since she was six, I know a lot about the various treatments!
Arthritis is described as inflammation of one or several joints, and it can be extremely painful, and even crippling. There are several types of arthritis. Infective or septic arthritis is usually caused by a bacteria penetrating the joint or from a local infection. Conventional treatment usually involves antibiotics to control the infection.
In osteoarthritis, there is degeneration of the joint structures rather than infection, often associated with the ageing process. Cracks and defects lead to exposure of the underlying bone, and the synovial membrane becomes inflamed, resulting in stiffness. Conventional treatment involves anti-inflammatory drugs (either steroid or non-steroidal). In autoimmune arthritis, the animal is producing antibodies against the self, and once again anti-inflammatories are used.
In some forms of arthritis, it is conceivable that vaccines are the cause. Vaccines stimulate inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and have been known to be contaminated with bacteria. Several scientific studies confirm that vaccine components have been found in the bones of arthritic adults and children. The Canine Health Concern vaccine survey, involving over 4,000 dogs, showed a positive correlation between vaccination and the onset of arthritis.
Before we became involved with alternative therapies, Sophie was prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. The vet told us that these tablets would kill her faster than the arthritis - and they weren't helping much, either. It was then that we discovered homoeopathy and acupuncture, and were led to other alternative therapies.
The first remedy we tried with Sophie was homoeopathic Bryonia. That really worked. Her swollen paws were swollen no more, and she got out of bed and started to play again. There are several homoeopathic remedies for arthritis. Bryonia is used when the condition worsens on exercise. Rhus tox helps if the animal is initially worse from movement, but improves with further exercise. Apis mel is the remedy if there is much swelling. Arnica is for bruised joints, and Calc Fluor if the bone is affected. All of these can be purchased from your local chemists. Alternatively, you can contact the British Association of Homoeopathic Veterinary Surgeons, telephone 01367 718115, where you can also discover more about the homoeopathic vaccine alternative.
There are only thirty practising vets in the UK who are trained in acupuncture, which is very successful in relieving arthritis. Your own vet should be able to refer you.
A lot can be done with nutrition and herbs. Green lip mussel, Potters Tabritis, Glucosamine, Devil's Claw and Selenium Zinc are all readily available in health shops, and can be added to food. Sophie received most relief from the Tabritis, a herbal supplement, but different supplements suit different dogs. More recently, the supplement named ‘MSM’ has worked wonders for many cases of arthritis. Try one of these alternatives at a time and observe the effect.
Evening Primrose Oil can be used if the arthritis is autoimmune in nature, as can Echinacea, which is helpful in combating viral and bacterial infections and boosts the immune system.
Also to be considered is the Bioforce magnetic collar, which many dog owners have raved about, and which is widely advertised in the pet press.
But I have to say that the most dramatic and successful result with Sophie's arthritis came through Emotional Freedom Technique. Sometimes homoeopathy can effect a permanent cure for arthritis, but in Sophie's case, although we alleviated it, it always stayed in the background. One evening a few weeks ago, her paws were quite swollen and deformed. So I used the technique called EFT, which involves tapping on energy circuits in the body (much like acupuncture without the needles). The response was so dramatic I doubted my own eyes. Her paws seemed to shrink like a horror movie special effect in reverse. They became swollen again when my sister came to visit. I used the technique while she watched on, and we both agreed that the swelling in Sophie’s paw went down rapidly - it was equivalent to watching a balloon empty itself of air.
Catherine O’Driscoll - http://www.canine-health-concern.org.uk/
Since 1994, Canine Health Concern (CHC) has been exposing the truth about the influence of big business on your pets – so that your dogs can live long and healthy lives.
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