Medical management of Lameness

Many joint diseases can be managed without surgical intervention. Treatment often involves careful restriction of exercise, and the use of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.

We carry a large range of different anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs.

The main class of drugs use in treatment of joint pain in humans and animals is the Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs group, often know as “NSAIDS”. Examples in human use include aspirin and ibuprofen.

The most commonly used NSAIDS in veterinary practice are:

  • Carprofen (trade names include Rimadyl)
  • Meloxicam (trade names include Metacam/Loxicom)
  • Fibricoxhib (Trade name Previcox)

Less commonly used include:

  • Trocoxil
  • PLT
  • Onsior

Other drugs

(Much less commonly used, but never-the- less very important) Other drugs include

  • Tramadol
    Tramadol is a potent opiate analgesic and is used for both acute pain (ie following surgery or a flare up of pre-existing arthritis not responding to nSAIDs), and also be used in more chronic pain.
  • Gabapentin
    Gabapentin acts directly on the nervous system reducing the ability of nerves to transmit pain.  Gabapentin can be very important in treating chronic pain and pain of neurogenic origin.

  • Steroids
    Steroids are very powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs. They are usually only used in very specific inflammatory joint conditions, or may be used by injection directly into joints for specific conditions.
  • Cartrophen
    Cartrophen acts differently to all the above drugs and claims to alleviate the signs of arthritis by acting on the underlying causes of the disease. Cartrophen is geven as a course of four injections 1 week apart, followed by less frequent injections according to clinical response.

Joint Supplements

Just as in human arthritis, a large number of “joint supplements” are available. The most commonly used of these contain Chondroitin and Glucosamine, and increasingly also Omega3 fatty acids. These molecules form some of the basic building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid. The theory is that providing the body with more than enough basic building blocks will ensure cartilage and joint fluid will always be maintained as good condition as possible.

Green lipped mussel extract has also been reported as beneficial in joint mobility and is available as a supplement or even already added to food

In a similar manner to the use of anti-arthritic drugs in humans, some drugs work particularly well in one individual and not in another. Sometimes it is necessary to try different drugs or combinations of drugs and supplements to get the best results.