Natural Home Remedy Treatments for Lameness in Dogs
Why try a natural cure for your dog´s lameness? At times the cause of lameness cannot be figured out. You´ll notice the problem, wait a few days and expect it to go away, and finally take your dog in to the veterinarian. The dog is examined, the dog is palpated, the dog is x-rayed, and finally, a steroid injection may be given and some anti-inflammatories are prescribed. Maybe they will work, but sometimes they do not. What if they do not help, or help for only a short period of time? This article should give you some alternatives if your dog is lame.
Symptoms of Lameness:
Besides the obvious symptom (refusing to put weight on her leg when walking), your dog might also be reluctant to play fetch or roughhouse like she normally does, or just be hesitant about climbing the steps in your house. She may cry out in pain when the lame leg is touched, but since dogs are stoic she can be in a lot of pain before she shows you any symptoms.
Causes of Lameness:
- Trauma: This may seem like it can happen easily, but usually dogs put up with a lot more stress than we would be able to. If your dog has any genetic predisposition to joint problems it may happen for no apparent reason.
- Cancer that affects a joint: A joint or nervous cancer can cause problems, but lameness can also be from osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that affects the bones. All of these situations need to be evaluated on an individual basis.
- Arthritis: The symptoms of arthritis are usually mild at first and should be picked up before they develop into lameness. You should notice a reluctance to play and bear weight on a limb, then notice a change in attitude before your dog finally starts licking his arthritic joint or going lame.
Conventional Therapy for Lameness:
- Steroids: If the cause of lameness cannot be determined your veterinarian may suggest a steroid injection. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory and may be effective. Side effects (weight gain, damage to the cartilage) are most often seen with continued therapy.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): This drug therapy will most likely be prescribed at the first visit for lameness. NSAIDs can be effective in masking symptoms but may have serious side effects, like stomach ulcers, kidney damage, and liver damage.
Natural Home Treatments for Lameness
- Herbs: The herbal therapy your try will be based on what you are trying to do. If you are trying to treat your dog with an anti-inflammatory that is mostly for her pain (like a muscle injury from being hit by a car), St. John´s Wort may be used as a tincture or applied locally to a sore joint. Cayenne topical cream can be used the same way, and it may even increase circulation to a painful area. Yucca is another possibility, and according to holistic veterinarians, it even produces hormones similar to the artificial steroids. If you are trying to decrease the inflammation throughout the body, as with chronic arthritis, you might want to use bromelain, parsley, or garlic.
- Massage: This is most effective if used with a massage gel, such as an essential oil in a neutral base. One source recommends letting the dog choose the best oil by sniffing, another source recommends selecting a warm oil like cinnamon or peppermint. There are several massage gels that cause the joint to become warm, so in cases of lameness in your dog they may be beneficial.
- Acupuncture: If your dog is not responding to other forms of therapy you might want to consult a veterinary acupuncturist through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. There are several forms of accupressure that you can do at home though and I do recommend you read and learn more about this subject if your dog is not responding to some of the other home treatments.
- Supplements: Omega fatty acids (like salmon oil) may help if an inflammatory condition is involved. Vitamin C may also be helpful, both as an anti-inflammatory and as a collagen protector, but no studies have been done to determine the exact doses in dogs. The only way to find the dose for your dog is to give him enough to cause loose bowels, and then give him a little less. Try to use a natural source if you have it available.
- Apple cider vinegar: May help because of its anti-inflammatory effects.
- An organic diet: Especially one that utilizes collagen meat sources.
If your dog does have symptoms of lameness I recommend that you first consult your regular veterinarian. It may be something quite simple that can be cured easily; it may be something that will respond to heating pads and conventional therapy. If the condition continues, however, you might want to search for alternatives. The alternative, natural therapies, will take a lot longer to start showing effects than conventional therapy, (steroids, NSAIDS) so do not expect a quick cure.
If you are not able to consult your vet, or the home therapies for lameness are not making your dog feed better, you should consider finding a holistic veterinarian to make other suggestions.
You may need to try another natural cure for your dog´s lameness.
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© 2012 Dr Mark