Arthritis Medication Canine Progression

As our dogs get older, symptoms of arthritis start to “crop up”

At first, we can minimize the symptoms with nothing but exercise and good low body weights.

Eventually a dog needs some medications. Well, usually. Really SKINNY dogs can sidestep arthritis. Truly.

Here’s the “order” which we will sometimes roll up on “old age” and painful joints




Occasional arthritis not weight-related

Lowest possible body weight

Limit carbohydrate intake

Continue exercise

Aspirin as needed but no more than four doses per week. Lowest possible body weight.

Longevity in the face of arthritis is tied to low body weight AND healthy teeth.

Aspirin can have deleterious effects on the gastro-intestinal tract and platelets.

Slow getting up

Reluctant to climb stars

No limping

No back pain

"As Needed" on sore days: Deramax or other COX II Inhibitor. Rimadyl, Mobic, and others are similar but there are differences. Plus all the above medications and husbandry.

When given all the time, Deramax requires bi-ennial bloodwork to ascertain the liver and kidneys aren't being harmed. Lowest possible body weight.

Occasional limping and fairly regular slow-to-get up. The dog that's "arthritic".

Deramax daily. It's not a bad idea to start Phycox at this point. Limit weight to a Body Condition Score of 4minus or even 3plus.

Phycox has a very positive effect on the hips in canines. Much better than its effect on knees. I don't know why.

Lowest possible body weight.

Lameness and arthritic symptoms a fairly persistent. Quality of life is declining.

TRIAD is a good idea.

TRIAD can be made with Deramax, Gabapentin, Methocarbamol. Another TRIAD is Deramax, Tramadol and Gabapentin.

Lowest possible body weight.

Arthritis is pretty severe, lameness and ability to get around is compromised.

TRIAD with all four components and all husbandry above. NEVER stop exercising a dog.

Lowest possible body weight.

Deramax and Gabapentin and Tramadol and Methocarbamol

Meds can be given "at different times" from each other so they don't "stack" and cause undesirable sedation. Dogs get used to the sedative effects. Don't give up.

Last Stop for Arthritis

We finally swap out Prednisone for the Deramax. Using a steroid in place of an NSAID is a "game changer" and a renaissance of mobility can sometimes be had for a little while. Steroids have their own side effects including exacerbation of heart problems and aggravation of diabetes and pancreatitis.

Lowest possible body weight.

TRIAD can be made with PREDNISONE, Gabapentin, Methocarbamol. Another TRIAD is PREDNISONE, Tramadol and Gabapentin.

Author: Dr. Erik Johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson is the author of several texts on companion animal and fish health. Johnson Veterinary Services has been operating in Marietta, GA since 1996. Dr Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Dr Johnson has lived in Marietta Georgia since 1976.