Deer Run Animal Hospital

308 E. US Hwy 30
Schererville, IN 46375



What causes arthritis and lameness in our pets? 


Joint diseases and the resulting arthritis are common causes of lameness in our pet patients.  This web page will discuss some of the most common causes. If you are anxious to find out the many ways we have to treat arthritis in our pets scroll on down, or click here for Arthritis Treatment Options, or listen to the AVMA's Podcast on Caring for Arthritic Pets at Home.

Normal Joints  Prevention of the progression of arthritis is all about maintaining the normal structures of the joint. In many cases, this involves providing the biochemical components of these structures as nutritional supplements. Our purpose here is to review what the structures are and what they are made of so that you can better choose supplements and understand what you're giving.  Click the link to learn more!

Next we want to discuss and describe the diseases that can lead to the development of Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) or Arthrtitis. Click on the Links below to learn more about the most common causes of arthritis; Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligaments (RACL), Patellar Luxation, and Obesity.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia Info from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS)

Elbow Dysplasia

Medial Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation Info from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons


Hill's Atlas of Veterinary Clinical Anatomy

Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (RACL)

Anterior/Cranial Cruciate Rupture Info from The American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Video of description of how RACLs are repaired Board certified surgeon, Dr. Mike Bauer describes how an RACL happens and how surgical repair is done with a TPLO at his surgery specialty practice.


Video of Passive Range of Motion Physical Therapy after RACL surgery

The development of DJD or arthritis can often be minimized by surgical treatment of many of these diseases if they are diagnosed early before the onset of arthritic changes.  For orthopedic surgical procedures we recommend referral to Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeons for the most optimal results. 


What Is A Board Certified Surgeon?

You will find Board Certified Surgeons and exceptional referral and specialty hospitals in our region at the link below.  If your pet is in need of orthopedic surgery, our doctors will arrange for a referral for your pet.


Recommended Referral/Specialty Hospitals in our Region where you will find Board Certified Surgeons.


Obesity is a huge contributing factor to the development of arthritis in our canine and feline patients. Click this link to learn more!  Obesity is one of the most common diseases we see in our pets.  If your pet has a weight problem, schedule an appointment to develop a diet plan for your pet.  Since our feline patients are very sensitive to side effects of common arthritis medications, weight loss becomes crucial to their treatment of osteoarthritis.  Be sure to ask our veterinarians how to achieve safe weight loss in cats. 


Click on our Weight Loss Help webpage for tips on how to help your pet achieve and maintain an ideal bodyweight.


How To Feed Cats To Prevent Obesity--Canned Foods!Cat_-_Cartoon_01.jpg


Transitioning Feline Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food  Is your cat a "Dry Food Junkie"?  Think it is impossible to change your cat's mind to accept the transition to canned foods?  This link will bring you to lots of tips to help your cat change to a healthier canned food diet.


 Feline Arthritis Treatments  A Deer Run Handout


Is Your Cat Slowing Down? Some information from Cornell University about joint disease in our feline friends.


Cat's Are Not Small Dogs!  What do we do about Cats with Arthritis?



Now let's discuss what else we can do for our pets with Arthritis! 

What Can I Do About My Pet's Arthritis

Arthritic Dog Products

Physical Therapy for Arthritis Patients Life with a dog with mobility issues is a challenge; it would be wonderful if there was a magic pill that could make a stiff older dog as supple as a youngster. Unfortunately, despite advances in arthritis medications for dogs, there is more to therapy than giving pills. The more advanced the mobility problems are, the more important physical therapy becomes in maintaining function. Click this link to learn more!


Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Medicine is a hot new field in Veterinary Medicine and much needed!  Rehab specialists often offer the latest in non-traditional therapies for muscle, joint and neurological diseases.  Unfortunately rehab centers are not located in NW Indiana at this time but there are several in the Chicago area and one in the south suburbs.  To learn more about veterinary rehab and the latest therapies available, check out the links to the Veterinary Rehab and Physical Therapy facilities listed below.


Chicago Animal REhab C.A.R.E. in Chicago Ridge and in the south suburbs!


TOPS Veterinary Rehab in Grayslake, IL


University of Illinois Veterinary Rehab in Urbana, IL


C.P.R. Rehab Center in North Aurora, IL


Help Me Up Dog Harness  A great dog lifting mobility harness to add dogs with severe arthritis and hip dysplasia and other motility problems.

Hill's Prescription Diet j/d for Joint Mobililty  What's in a diet?  How can a dog or cat food help arthritits?  The formulation in Hill's Prescription diet j/d for dogs and cats delivers high levels of omega 3 fatty acids in the proper ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids.  Achieving these levels and rations of fatty acids by simple over the counter supplments is nearly impossible to achieve.  Hill's has done all the hard work for you!  This diet has published and peer reviewed scientific studies that show its true benefits.  Dietary therapy is a great addition to multi-modal therapy for arthritis and may be able to help lessen the need for other medications! 



Omega 3 Fish Oils can also be supplemented without using a special veterianry joint diet but can be difficult to do with simple over the counter supplements made for humans.  It is important to achieve the proper ration of Fish Oils and this ratio is affected by different diets.  Most over the counter supplements do not contain dosages that work well for pets.  There is however mounting evidence that fish oils can have anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis.  Here is a link that describes the Benefits of Omega 3 Fish Oil for Joints in humans.  For more educational information about the use of quality and high potency fish oil click this link from Nordic Naturals.  Ask your veterinarian if Omega 3 supplementation would benefit your pet.


ARTHRITIS MEDICATIONS Click on this link for an article that focuses on the various types of medications use for arthritis in pets.

Degenerative joint disease is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs and cats.  The condition is the result of long-term stresses on a joint, either resulting from an old injury or from natural development of a poorly conformed joint.  While surgery may be able to help in some situations, most of the time the degeneration of the joint cannot be reversed and treatment focuses on preventing progression of damage. Numerous products are available; some are best combined with others and some cannot be combined.  What we do know is that arthritis pain is best addressed by what is called a multi-modal approach, meaning that several approaches combined yield better results than any single therapy.  There are two basic catagories of medictions, slow acting medications that support joint repair and Anti-inflammatory/Pain medications.


1.  SLOW ACTING & JOINT PROTECTIVE SUPPLEMENTS/MEDICATIONS for arthritis ultimately improve joint function and help with pain relief, but they require a time frame of weeks to months to exert their effect. They may have disease-modifying properties such that their benefit continues even after their use has been curtailed. These products are typically what are called nutraceuticals, meaning that they are nutritional supplements that have medicinal properties. Most arthritis patients can benefit from their use and they are considered a basic starting level for joint care.  They are most effective when used early in the course of arthritic conditions but may help at any point. 


Recommended examples from this class include oral Dasuquin and Adequan injections.

Dasuquin is our best recommendation for an oral joint supplement containing Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate.  It is the new and improved form of a product called Cosequin.  Dasuquin had two new ingredients that work synergistically with the glucosamine and chondrotin for enhanced benefit. We want to inform our clients that not all Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate containing products are created equally.  It is important to realize that joint supplements are considered nutraceuticals not drugs; therefore they are not regulated by the FDA and quality and content of products is extremely variable.  

Along with many Board Certified Veterinary Orthopedic Specialists, we recommend Dasuquin because it has been scientifically formulated to support and maintain the health of  joints. Not all Glucosamine/chondroitin supplements are created equally and quality varies tremendously!

Dasuquin has extremely high quality Glucosamine and Chondroitin.  Excellent published clinical studies have shown that the specific combination of ingredients in Dasuquin work together to maintain the structure of the cartilage in the joints, while inhibiting the enzymes that break down the cartilage, and this helps the body repair joint damage. Early action is always the best advice. Joint problems generally get worse with time. With Dasuquin, the sooner it is started, the more opportunity your pet will have to respond and return to normal activity.

Dasuquin For Dogs                                               


Dasuquin for Cats for cats is available as a flavored sprinkle cap that you can mix into food.


Dasuquin Rebates

Adequan Injections (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan) Adequan has helped many of our canine arthritis patients.  Also only FDA approved for use in the dog, Adequan has been used for many years in cats.  It has been found to be well tolerated and effective in feline patients too!

Novartis Adequan Website


NON-STEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS or NSAIDs are some of the most effective and comonly used medications for the treatment of arthritis in dogs.  The most commonly used NSAIDs are Deramaxx, Rimadyl, and Previcox.  Some patients will do better on a certain NSAID than other, just as some people will find a certain pain reliever works best for their headaches versus others.  The best NSAID for a particular patient may take some trial and error to find the most effective and well tolerated one for that patient.  Unfortunately due to differences in metabolism, NSAID therapy in cats carries significant risks and are not ideal for long term use in this species.

Pain Drugs for Dogs: Be An Informed Owner Although Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDS have brought great relief to millions of dogs, and can be used safely with proper dosing and monitoring, owners who give their dogs NSAIDs need to know the side effects to watch for that indicate their pet needs medical attention. This article will help inform you.


Treating Pain in Your Dog Keeping your best friend safe, active, and pain free.  Click this link to learn more about NSAID Arthritis Medications.  Learn how to use them safely, learn the side effects, how to spot them, and what to do. 





3.  Although NSAIDs are the mainstay of arthritis therapy there are some other pain drugs that are sometimes used or added to NSAIDS.  Reasons for use of the drugs below may include health contraindications for NSAID use (such as kidney or liver disease) and intolerance or unacceptable side effects with NSAIDs.  They may also be added on to NSAIDs when NSAIDs alone are not adequately controlling pain.  Since our feline patients do not tolerate NSAIDs well, these drugs are often used for feline arthritis.