Arthritis is a common and very painful degenerative condition affecting the joints. It is caused by the stretching of fascia and ligaments, which leads to the abrasion of joints and inflammation. When this happens cells called osteoblasts in your dog’s body will create new bone matter, usually in places where it should not be, where it is then broken down by other cells known as osteoclasts and reabsorbed in turn. All together this process is known as remodeling and is a painful experience for pets. Larger breeds of dog are at higher risk for developing arthritis, especially as they get older, due to the excess weight placed onto their joints throughout their lives. Fortunately there are several supplements and medicines considered effective in the treatment of arthritis, tramadol being one of them.

Types Of Arthritis

Erosive Arthritis

This is the classical form of arthritis explained in the introduction. It can be a side effect of the aging process, but can also be caused by conditions such as hip dysplasia which routinely affects younger dogs as well as those in their later years. In hip dysplasia, the ball and socket which connects the legs to the main body are not tight enough, leading to clashing and abrasion during movement.

Non-Erosive Arthritis

Non-erosive arthritis refers to a condition in which there is inflammation of the joints but no destruction or creation of bone matter. It can result from immune conditions where the body begins attacking connective tissue as if it were a foreign entity (known as rheumatoid arthritis).

Signs Your Dog Has Arthritis

There are several things you can look for if you suspect your dog is suffering from arthritis. It is more likely that your dog has this disease if they are older, or if they have illnesses such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever which can result in arthritic conditions. Common symptoms include:

  • Limping
  • Immobility
  • Fatigue
  • Hunched back
  • Licking at the joints

If your dog is displaying these symptoms you should call your vet and arrange a check up.

Treatment With Tramadol For Dogs

Tramadol is a strong painkiller (analgesic) which acts on mu-opioid receptors and inhibits the re-uptake of serotonin in your dog’s brain. It is prescribed by some veterinarians to control pain associated with chronic conditions such as arthritis. Tramadol should only be used if necessary as overuse can lead to dependency and several other unwanted side effects, for this reason pet owners may wish to try supplements like glucosamine first.

When treating arthritis with tramadol, it’s important that you visit the vet first for a prescription and a plan of treatment. Usually you will be asked to start your pet on a low dose and gradually build it up to higher amounts with time. This dosage will usually be adjusted based on your pet’s response to treatment and any side effects they experience as a result of the drug.

What Else Can I Do?

Aside from tramadol treatment, you can opt for natural remedies. Supplementing your dog with vitamin C or glucosamine is a great way to boost your dog’s treatment when used in conjunction with pain relief medication. Speak to your vet about these supplements, or ask about Cosequin which is a little pricier.