Thursday, June 09, 2011

REVIEW: The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats

The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
by Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: New World Library (May 31, 2011)


As a dog parent of an arthritic dog, I was over joyed to find a copy of The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats in my mailbox for review.  Dr. Shawn Messonnier, a nationally recognized expert on integrative medicine for animals, offers this timely book on holistic solutions for this ever growing problem facing today's pet parents.

The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats is an up-to-date resource that encompasses the most effective conventional and alternative therapies, including acupuncture, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, diet and exercise.  This guide provides pet parents with the knowledge they need to not only recognize, but help to prevent and treat the debilitating condition of arthritis. 

Aside from the wealth of information, I love that The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats is in a manageable, paperback format - unlike many pet medical books.  Toss it in your bag and keep it handy for reference.... mark those pages of interest so you can bring it along for discussion to your next vet appointment. 

Grab yourself a copy of The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats to add to your library today... and maybe grab an extra for your best doggy friend.  It's a gift that will be used! 

The following article by Dr. Messonnier is a must-read for all pet parents.

Five Things You Should Know about Arthritis in Pets
By Dr. Shawn Messonnier

While most pet owners know that arthritis is a common condition in pets, there are a number of facts about arthritis, which come as a surprise to the same pet owners. Here are five things you must know about arthritis in pets.

First, while it is probably not correct to say that we can totally prevent arthritis and older pets, there are many things owners can do to help decrease the chances that your pet will ever develop this condition. Supplementing the diet of younger pets with popular joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and even fish oil will reduce wear and tear in the cartilage and the inflammation that follows cartilage damage.

Second, the MOST important treatment for arthritis in pets is to make sure they maintain a normal weight. Extra weight carried on damage joints not only further damages the joints but causes more inflammation in them as well. Putting pets on a medically controlled diet is the most important thing you can do your pet suffers from arthritis.

Third, don't forget that even cats get arthritis, often as frequently as dogs! Older cats that seem a bit stiff, have urinary or fecal accidents in the household, become cranky if you pet them, and which seem to "act old" often are found to suffer from arthritis. While many of the nonsteroidal medications we use in arthritic dogs are not safe to use in cats, fortunately our natural therapies are as helpful in our feline patients as they are in dogs.

Fourth, IF NSAID medications need to be used, use them as “holistically” as possible. Rather than follow the label dose (which is often several times higher than truly needed,) ask your veterinarian about using them on a “low dose, as needed regimen.”

Fifth, don't forget the importance of natural therapies. While nonsteroidal medications can usually be used safely in most pets (on a low dose, in frequent dosing schedule) natural therapies work as well as if not better than conventional medications without the cost or side effects. Therapy such as joint supplements (including hyaluronic acid, a supplement which often works in pets with severe arthritis that is not responsive to traditional joint supplements,), chiropractic therapy, acupuncture therapy, homeopathic therapy, herbal therapy, even cold laser therapy are becoming mainstays of treatment among holistic veterinarians for their arthritic patients.

Five New Treatments for Arthritis in Pets

While many pet owners are familiar with the use of nonsteroidal medications such as Rimadyl and Metacam for controlling their pets pain, there are many new and exciting therapies are also available for the treatment of arthritis in pets. Fortunately, these therapies are often much more effective than nonsteroidal medications, have fewer (and usually no) side effects, and tend to be less expensive than nonsteroidal medications and the frequent follow-up examinations and laboratory testing that must be done for pets taking these medications.

1. Cold Laser Therapy ~ Cold laser therapy involves the application of a painless laser to your pet's arthritic joints. Similar to acupuncture without the needles, regular cold laser therapy treatments have helped many of my patients live normal lives and avoid surgery.

2. Homeopathics ~ Various homeopathic remedies have shown benefit in relieving pain and inflammation in pets suffering from arthritis. Specifically, recent studies show a homeopathic remedy Zeel equally effective to the nonsteroidal medication Rimadyl in helping pets with arthritis.

3. Hyaluronic Acid ~ While many people are familiar with glucosamine and chondroitin as joint supplements, hyaluronic acid (HA) it's quickly becoming a favorite joint supplement, especially for those pets suffering from severe arthritis that do not respond to glucosamine and chondroitin.

4. Physical therapy ~ Pets, as well as people, can benefit from a visit to the local physical therapist. Gentle joint manipulation, low impact exercises, and massage therapy are all beneficial for arthritic pets.

5. Fish oil ~ Officially recommended for a number of inflammatory conditions, don't forget its value for helping pets with arthritis either. Combining fish oil with other therapies will not only help inflamed joints will make the pet healthier as well.

Based on the book The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Arthritis in Dogs and Cats. Copyright Ó 2011 By Dr. Shawn Messonnier Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

About the Author: Shawn Messonnier, DVM, graduate of Texas A&M University School of Veterinary Medicine, is a holistic veterinarian and the author of several books, as well as a regular holistic pet columnist for the Dallas Morning News. He is author of the award-winning The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats and he hosts a weekly satellite radio show, Dr. Shawn - The Natural Vet, on Martha Stewart Radio Sirius 112/XM 157. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Messonnier serves on the board of the prestigious international journal Veterinary Forum and has contributed to various pet publications including Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, Cats, Veterinary Product News, Whole Dog Journal, Animal Wellness, Veterinary Forum, Whole Cat Journal, AKC Gazette, Vegas Dog, Dog Nose News, Body & Soul (now Whole Living), Natural Horse, and Pet Business. Dr. Messonnier owns the Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in Plano, Texas. Vist his website to learn more.


SissySees said...

Wish I'd had that resource for my boys. Oh well... they'll likely have a new edition before I need it for the girls.

Marjie said...

I am very fortunate that the glucosamine & chondroitin and fish oil have relieved all of Thor's symptoms. It's scary that some pets suffer so badly.

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