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Q: What are some options to manage chronic orthopedic pain in dogs?

Original Question: "I have a five-year-old (74 pound) Terrier mix. She limps on her front left leg after long walks and has a very stiff back leg (she had a nasty encounter with a pick up truck two years ago - miraculously no broken bones). My vet has prescribed Onsior ($97.00 for 28 pills) and recommends Cartrophen Vet ($50.00 x 4 weeks) and then once a month after that. My problem is that I am on Ontario Disability and have an extremely limited income. I asked for a prescription for the Onsior but was told it isn’t available at the pharmacy. I love my dog more than I can say and don’t want her to be in pain. I tried Green Lipped Mussel with limited success. Can you recommend a less expensive alternative? Many thanks." - Pam


Vet Certified Answer | Answered: January 8, 2018

Hi Pam,

Thanks for your message.

It sounds like you are very concerned about your dog and want only the best for her. There are many options for managing chronic orthopaedic pain in dogs, some of which you have mentioned. These include anti-inflammatory medications, opioids and other classes of prescription pain medication, supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, green-lipped mussel and omega fatty acids, joint support diets, physiotherapy and complementary treatments such as laser therapy and acupuncture.

Often, veterinarians will recommend more than one treatment to manage chronic pain, known as a “multi-modal” approach. This allows us to approach the pain from different angles, giving an overall better result than if just one treatment is used. Treating chronic pain can certainly become costly over time. I would encourage you to discuss these concerns with your veterinarian. Depending on your pet’s specific condition, there could be other medications and treatments that will allow you to continue to keep your dog comfortable. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you further on the best course of action for your dog and financial situation. I hope this gives you some insight. Sincerely,

Dr. Kim Hester


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