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Integrative Management Of Arthritis

Arthritis is a slowly progressive disease that may affect one or several joints. Most often hips or elbows are affected.

When arthritis develops the joint fluid bathing the joints becomes very thin. Cartilage at the end of long bones can become eroded and the health of the joint capsule tissues suffers as they become inflamed.

Arthritis typically leads to pain, lameness, joint inflammation and reduced mobility, resulting in a reduced quality of life. Your dog may show reluctance to exercise, difficulty rising, especially in the mornings, difficulty moving upstairs or reluctance to jump in the car.

Dogs in pain may start to show uncharacteristic behaviour such as aggression towards humans or other pets, may not eat as well or may start to chew or lick at their limbs or joints. They may not be able to groom themselves, or may take a long time to settle in their beds, being reluctant to lay down.

Arthritis is not just a disease of old dogs. Young dogs with poor conformation, fast growing, large breed dogs, dogs with joint instability, history of any surgery involving joints or the skeleton or cruciate disease, will all benefit from the following protocol.

Over the past 30 years we have accumulated numerous cases of young, large breed dogs who have benefited from our protocol and advise any dog with tendon, ligament damage or undergoing joint surgery be started on our protocol



1) CARTROPHEN (Pentosan Polysulfate) is a plant derived medication. It is classified as a Disease Modifying medication with the following actions:

• Thickens joint fluid by stimulating joint fluid production.

• Stimulates production of cartilage

• Blocks the enzymes the breakdown cartilage

• Stimulate the production of anti-oxidants that block damaging free radicals

• Improves blood flow to joints to deliver nutrition to the joint and bone

Cartrophen (Pentosan) is an exceptional and unique medication in that it works to actually modify or change the events occurring in arthritis. Unlike anti-inflammatories, of which there are many, it doesn’t just work on the effects of the disease, but actually changes or modifies the course of the disease process.

Anti-inflammatories will often still be required however, if the disease progresses over time or the animal already has very advanced arthritis. However we can significantly reduce the amount of pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories being used in the animal by using Cartrophen first. We will often advise an increase in the frequency of Cartrophen administration and a decrease in the use of anti-inflammatories as the dog stabilises on Cartrophen.

Cartrophen Vet is an injection given as an initial course of four weekly doses. This is a convenient way to ensure that your pet receives the appropriate dosage and allows us to monitor the response. It is essential that your dog complete all 4 injections to ensure optimal benefit – injections may be given 5 – 7 days apart, but no further than 7 days apart.

Signs of improvement:

- Dogs become more “fluid” in their movement

- Easier rising from bed and settling into bed

- Easier effort in navigating stairs; getting into car easier

- Increased exercise tolerance – longer walks, more playful, playing with toys again

- Happier dogs as pain & stiffness is alleviated

Your dog will in future require a single booster injection the frequency of which may vary from monthly to 3 monthly, depending on the individual dog’s response & severity of arthritis. When your pet starts to show returning signs of joint stiffness – that is the time for a booster.


Therapeutic Laser Therapy (TLT) is a scientifically and clinically proven therapeutic modality which uses light of different wavelengths that, when delivered to body tissues, interacts with tissue cells. TLT is a very safe, easy to use & affordable therapy which produces significant benefits to our patients. Dr Joan has considerable experience in TLT protocols for a large variety of conditions.

How TLT works

Our Class 1 Therapeutic Laser delivers light of different wavelengths into body tissues. The light wavelengths consist of red, infrared and blue light and penetrates up to 10 cm into tissues.

The light causes changes in the cell mitochondria to stimulate tissue cells to produce more fuel for the cell. This fuel is called ATP; with more fuel the cell can work harder and faster, allowing the body to get on with the job of healing quicker.

With more fuel damaged tissues heal faster, decreasing the time it takes for wounds to heal, for damaged tissues to repair and therefore faster time for the body to return to normal function.

In addition, tissue swelling can be reduced, lymphatic flow enhanced and significant pain relief achieved via the interaction of laser on nerves. There is a direct effect on pain sensation, down regulating pain transmission.

TLT results in:

• decreased inflammation & swelling of tissues

• faster wound healing

• faster healing of damaged ligaments & tendons

• kills bacteria (blue light)

• significant pain relief

• increases blood supply and oxygen delivery to tissues.

Client Use of Lasers

Safety is important with all animal therapy. These units are extremely safe, no side effects, no sedation required, no hair clipping required and the treatment is non-invasive (no needles) There is no need for special equipment such as goggles or dedicated treatment rooms. (As do Class IV lasers)

Clients can hire our home laser unites and will be instructed in the use of TLT and given a written treatment plan. Patients receive a loading dose of TLT in the clinic that is continued at home on a specific protocol (Time/Frequency/Duration of treatment) according to the patients’ condition.

Dogs with arthritis benefit significantly from a treatment protocol including TLT. Reduced inflammation, pain relief, increased range of motion and improved joint health. Clients can treat their animals at home after an initial clinic treatment. We generally find 2-3 x 5 day courses (with a 5 day break between courses) is sufficient to achieve good results.


Dogs with moderate to severe pain may require additional pain relief which we will prescribe separately to the Cartrophen course. Pain relief may be provided by:

Anti-inflammatories: “CARPROFEN” tablets. We may prescribe these initially then ask you to gradually reduce the dose to the “lowest effective dose”. We prefer to see an increase in the frequency of Cartrophen boosters combined with the lowest effective dose of pharmaceuticals.

As with all anti-inflammatory meds, tablets should be given with food. Carprofen is our drug of choice as we see very little, if any, gastrointestinal upset with the medication, especially with long term use.

“Beransa” is a new medication now available to be used for pain relief. The active component is “Bedinvetmab” which functions like a naturally occurring antibody (Ab). As an Ab works, it binds to a protein called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is involved in the transmission of pain therefore Beransa works to reduce pain perception.

Whilst Beransa has shown some success in dogs for pain relief, we must remember it is just stopping the “perception” or transmission of pain. The drug is not doing what Cartrophen injection does i.e. modify the course of the disease process of arthritis. Nor does Beransa reduce inflammation in body tissues, as Carprofen tablet medication does. So, while there will be new drugs such as Beransa come onto the market and be effective medications, you must remember they have different modes of action to Cartrophen and therefore do not replace the need for Cartrophen.


Medicinal herbs provide their benefits through actions on a variety of body systems. By blending herbs, the synergistic actions are vastly increased to provide the following support:

• Pain relief, decrease inflammation, analgesic action.

• Immune system support

• Nervous system support, to decrease anxiety.

• Increase ability to cope with stress.

Herbs can be blended as powders for feed additives or as liquid tonics to add orally or in feed. Liquid tonics can be prescribed for the individual animal to help support “Dog Pro” and provide benefits for long term management of arthritis.

Our HoneyPro Vet “DOG JOINTS” feed supplement contains:

• Frankinsense (Boswellia) – anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, pain relief

• Turmeric – mild anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, protects liver

• Ginger – improve blood flow, anti-inflammatory

• Licorice – anti-inflammatory, demulcent

• Glucosamine – cartilage synthesis regulation, mild anti-inflammatory

• Coconut Powder – to assist absorption turmeric

You can purchase "Dog Joints" at our HoneyPro Vet website store.

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