Treating canine osteoarthritis without opioids

How to heal the condition, not the symptom

Water treadmill treatment helps with this dog’s muscle conditioning, as well as prevents muscle atrophy caused by its hip and stifle osteoarthritis. / Photo courtesy Hayley Nash

For years, veterinarians treating dogs with osteoarthritis have reached for the opioid painkiller tramadol. In the face of a growing body of evidence that both long- and short-term treatment with tramadol is not only ineffective, but actually harmful, interest in alternative treatments is on an upward trend.

Tramadol became the canine arthritis treatment of choice because it was convenient. It seemed to be effective in small doses, has fewer side effects than non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and has a lower potential for human abuse than narcotics like oxyco...


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