Osteoarthritis Dog Study Helps 27 Million Arthritic Patients
Posted on July 10, 2012 by WayCoolDogs
Osteoarthritis , the most common form of arthritis, is a difficult disease to diagnose unless painful physical symptoms begin to show themselves. Currently, the United States has about 27 million patients who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, in the form of arthritis.
Researcher James Cook and his research group from the University of Missouri’s Orthopaedic Laboratory have been studying arthritis in dogs to improve findings for human patients, finding a way to detect and predict the disease before painful arthritis symptoms begin to emerge. Joint pain and stiffness are the primary arthritis symptoms first observed by doctors and vets in their patients, too late for preventive and minimal invasive arthritis treatments in order to prevent their patients from suffering.
According to a Missouri University Press Release, James Cook is a researcher from the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and the William C. and Kathryn E. Allen Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, along with MU researchers Bridget Garner, Aaron Stoker, Keiichi Kuroki, Cristi Cook, and Prakash Jayabalan, have developed a test using specific arthritis biomarkers that can accurately determine if a patient is developing arthritis as well as predict the potential severity of the disease.
The test can be run off of a single drop of fluid from a patient’s joint, which is obtained with a small needle similar to those that draw blood.
“With this biomarker test, we can study the levels of specific proteins that we now know are associated with osteoarthritis,” Cook said. “Not only does the test have the potential to help predict future arthritis, but it also tells us about the early mechanisms of arthritis, which will lead to better treatments in the future.”
Published in the “Journal of Knee Surgery,” the researchers reported their findings were based on analyzing the affected joints of dogs with arthritis. Veterinarians report that 20% of middle-aged dogs and 90% of older dogs have osteoarthritis in one or more joints. Canine joints are similar to human joints, explaining why the study on arthritic dogs are being adapted for human patients.
“This test has already shown early usefulness for allowing us to monitor how different treatments affect the arthritic joints in people,” Cook said. “With further validation, this test will allow doctors to adjust and fine tune treatments to individual patients. Also, being able to tell patients when they are at a high risk for developing arthritis will give doctors a strong motivational tool to convince patients to take preventive measures including appropriate exercise and diet change.”
Osteoarthritis symptoms in dogs
Osteoarthritis in dogs have a tendency to mimic symptoms similar to other diseases. One example is the Lyme disease while another is old age. Many owners believe that their dog is beginning to age. They do not consider their dog is beginning to slow down because of chronic pain, but simply old age. The following symptoms of osteoarthritis “may vary in intensity but will always grow worse with time”:
- Joint stiffness
- Activity levels that reduce over time
- Inability to walk well, or lameness
- Having trouble sitting or standing, lying down and squatting
- Pain and inflammation in the joints; swelling of the joints
- Sluggish feeling and lack of energy
- Pain with movement that causes the dog to cry out in pain
Osteoarthritis treatments for dogs
Like obese or overweight people, heavy dogs put unnecessary strain on their joints, making the symptoms of osteoarthritis much worse. Dogs or people who are overweight require gentle exercise in order to gain muscle support on their joints — swimming or a 10-minute power walk in cool times of the day.
A popular osteoarthritis treatment is anti-inflammatory drugs. According to the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin can be given to dogs with canine osteoarthritis to relieve pain without damaging their kidneys or liver. More dangerous to give to reduce inflammation are corticosteroids, but they have a lot of side effects and are extremely dangerous if used long term.
To reduce or reverse the symptoms of osteoarthritis, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are safe for use in dogs with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is produced naturally in the body, maintaining cartilage health. If supplements are given, they help rebuild damaged or deteriorated joint damage, which relieves painful symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine supplements sometimes are mixed with MSM, an organic sulfur which relieves pain from stiff joints, connective tissue strain, hip and leg issues, joint pain, and other tissue-related issues. The MSM delivers bioavailable organic sulfur into the dog’s system, giving your dog the nutritional building blocks to build and repair connective tissue and regain flexibility.
Many dogs, particularly purebreds, experience difficulty with joints, especially in their hips and legs, later in life. Many people believe that this is a result of overbreeding in a relatively small gene pool to keep the purebred strains intact. While this is true to a point, a life of standard dog food diet is often just as much to blame for these maturing complications.
The advantage of using MSM is that it works for both people and animals, such as dogs and horses. It can be ordered in pill form for patients with severe arthritis and fine crystal powder to mix with dog food or something they enjoy eating.
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