Arthritis

Dog Arthritis
Chronic musculoskeletal dysfunction is a much more complicated disorder than the catch-all term “arthritis” implies.
 
It involves a complex interaction of hormonal and neurotransmitters, oxidative-reductive hemodynamics, detoxification, inflammatory processes, immune imbalances, GI tract dysfunction, and structural integrity. It is very common- estimates are that it accounts for 1 in 7 clinic visits. Like people, it is a significant cause of pain that almost all animals confront as they age.
The conventional approach to musculoskeletal pain is to suppress it without attempting to define all the contributing factors.
 
A functional approach stresses the biochemical individuality of each patient by recognizing each one will have a different constellation of contributing factors. Appropriate laboratory evaluation results in an individualized treatment plan.
 
By correcting imbalances in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids the patient’s perception of pain is greatly reduced. If pain is not eliminated, it can often be alleviated with herbal remedies that are much less toxic than the steroids and non-steroidals employed in conventional treatment. This usually results in a better quality of life for your pet and much less inconvenience and expense for
you.

The key nutrients necessary to treat arthritis are vitamin C, lysine, proline, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and msm. All of these must be given in functionally adequate amounts. The quickest, easiest way to determine necessary dosages is to run an Organic Acids Test. This test measures the efficiency of metabolic processes in the body and will demonstrate inadequacies of vitamins and minerals.

At the present time, it does not appear to be possible to “cure” allergies- although there are some novel approaches that appear promising. Conventional treatment usually involves various drugs such as steroids and antihistamine, which provide temporary relief at best and have significant side effects. In addition, testing for pollen sensitivity is done in order to institute a program of desensitization. Injections of “immune serum” are given every 7-21 days for the rest of the dog’s life.  These injections stimulate production of antibodies that block the antibodies causing the allergy. In addition to not working well, desensitization injections result in the creation of immune complexes which cause disease in other parts of the body- such as the hips and kidneys.
 
The functional medicine approach to treating allergies is to develop a hypoallergenic diet, which reduces the allergy load by 75%. This is done by measuring serum antibodies to various foods. Once a hypoallergenic diet is instituted, dramatic improvement is expected within 1 week. If that does not occur, the problem is often an imbalance of intestinal microflora. Tests can reveal the nature of the imbalance.
 
Correcting the imbalance will help many patients. There are some patients whose immune systems are so dysfunctional that only immune-suppressive drugs will provide relief. Thankfully, these are the exceptions.
 
It appears that a cure for allergies will involve changing the immune system- probably through some sort of recombinant DNA process. Unfortunately, that is some time in the future. At present, the best treatment is avoidance of those foods one is allergic to and taking high doses of probiotics to maintain balance in the gut microflora.