Cartrophen For Dogs: Healthy Joints, Happy Dogs

Our dog does not have any way to communicate the pain they are experiencing. They sometimes also suffer from problems and physical pains which may remain unnoticed from us. One of such physical troubles is osteoarthritis. This is also commonly known as OA. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease. Your dog, if suffering from this disease will experience pain in joints. This pain can be more severe in dogs as compared to other living creatures. As a pet parent, you may feel sad for your pet suffering from osteoarthritis. But thankfully, the new discoveries and inventions have found a long-term help or relief for this pain. This pain or relief medicine is known as cartrophen.

What is Cartrophen?

Cartrophen is a drug that is used to cure osteoarthritis. This is a condition where your dog will experience severe joint pain. The pain gets worse if it is left unnoticed or if it is not treated properly. Modern medical science has found a temporary, but effective solution to this problem. It is known as cartrophen. The cartrophen is a drug that is used to relieve pain in not only dogs but for cats and horses too. This medicine reverses the pain of osteoarthritis. This has been proved once in 1996 by a study. This study revealed that cartrophen increases the dog’s willingness to exercise. However, there are no other proofs or pieces of evidence for the same after that. It is an excellent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug because of its safety and efficiency.
Cartrophen is of plant origin and mostly comes in the form of injection. In some countries, there are oral capsules or tablets prevalent, but most of the vets recommend cartrophen injections over tablets and capsules. Cartrophen capsules are generally of 100 mg. However, this may vary depending on the size of your dog. Cartrophen capsules are cheaper than cartrophen injections. This injection is a “Prescription Only Medicine” so you must consult your vet before starting any treatment of Cartrophen.

If you are going to get your dog injected for osteoarthritis or arthritis, then it is more likely that your vet would inject cartrophen into your dog’s body. These are usually injected in a similar way to vaccines. Cartrophen injections contain pentosan polysulfate sodium. Their quantity is normally 100ml, but then it can vary according to the size of your dog. It is normally administered in a course of 4 injections given once in a week. While some dogs respond to it very well some take their time but you would see some improvement in your dog by the end of the fourth week.
The manufacturers of Cartrophen previously had issued strict warnings to store it in refrigeration between 2-8degree Centigrade. However, now they recommend it just needs to be stored below 25degree Centigrade.

What does cartrophen do?

The main functions of cartrophen include the following:

  • Increases cartilage production
    The main function of cartilage is to act as a cushion within the joint. Osteoarthritis can affect the cartilage of your dog. Thus, cartrophen helps increase the weakened cartilage production of your dog.
  • Improves quality of synovial fluid
    Synovial fluid also is known commonly as joint fluid is necessary for the joint. It helps the joint to old weight. The cartrophen can bring back the quality of this fluid.
  • Stimulates cartilage growth
    The cartrophen helps maintain the cartilage with the joint of your dog. Due to arthritis, a dog’s cartilage can become weak and can even break. Cartrophen prevents this from happening.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects millions of people all over the world every year. It is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect almost any joint, but it is most commonly seen affecting joints of hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Osteoarthritis is also referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). In dogs, this disease mainly affects the joints and cartilage. The cartilage acts as a cushion. This cushion allows dogs to move smoothly in full motion. This cartilage can get affected due to some factors like age, any accident or injury, the stress in a particular area, or due to some disease. However, not all dogs are prone to get affected to osteoarthritis. In a few cases, osteoarthritis could be present at an earlier age because of certain joint diseases such as hip dysplasia or cruciate disease. Some of the risk factors are as follows:

  • Obesity
    Obesity can cause many deadly diseases, if not cured properly
  • Age especially middle age to senior dogs
    Most of the diseases are prone to occur to middle aged and senior dogs. However, there is not hundred percent guarantee that a young dog will not get affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Repeated stress
    This is another major cause of physical injuries and osteoarthritis is no less than a physical injury.
  • Genetical issues
    There are some cases, wherein the genetics of a dog might be weak, or would be prone to diseases. Hence, this is another risk factor for osteoarthritis.
  • Accidents or injuries
    Accidents and injuries can play a major role in affecting your dog with osteoarthritis. If your dog encounters with any accident, make sure you take him to a vet.

Other risk factors include the following –

  • Infections that affect the joints
  • Large breeds
  • Incomplete nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Continuous treatment of steroids

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Unsuccessful attempts to jump
  • Reduction in exercises
  • Stiffness
  • Less movement
  • Difficulty in getting up
  • Not enthusiastic about their walks
  • Change in behavior such as increased aggression
  • Irritation
  • Dog would show some signs of discomfort
  • Show pains when they are petted or cared
  • Loss of muscle weight over limbs and spine
  • Difficulty in maintaining posture
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Gain in weight
  • Limping or showing interest only in one particular limb
  • Spending more time sleeping or just lying down
  • Change in its gait such as “bunny-hopping”
  • Clicking like sounds from its joints while it is walking

Does Cartrophen have any side effects?

Every medicine comes with its own side effects. Cartrophen is also just like that but it is said to have a very safe history of use from twenty years. In a recent Japanese open clinical study, 96% of cases improved after they were administered Cartrophen. The number of reported side effects cases on a per course basis was about 0.058%. In spite of its claim, Cartrophen has a few side effects. 
In a few and rare cases, some dogs vomit after about 10-15 minutes of injecting Cartrophen. Some tend to remain silent for about one to two days. Your dog could also tend to become lethargic after this injection. In some cases, dogs tend to have anorexia where they get into very bad eating habits. But do not use this injection on dogs who have uncontrolled bleeding, trauma advanced liver or kidney problems, and cancer especially haemangiosarcoma. This is because Cartrophen has a temporary effect on blood coagulation. Remember Cartrophen is not recommended for young growing dogs or pregnant bitches.

How frequently should Cartrophen be given to dogs?

Normally a course of Cartrophen lasts for four weeks with one injection per week. So this becomes more easier to remember than giving a daily dose of tablets. So rather than forgetting to give tablets, it is better to visit the vet once a week. The frequency of the treatment could vary from once in a year to thrice in a year depending on how much your pet is affected. Like most medicines take time to show their positive signs, your dog will show signs of any improvement mostly after the second round of Cartrophen. But after each injections, your vet will check to see if there is any changes or relief for your pet. It is very very important that you complete all the four injections to ensure that your dog receives the maximum of benefits and improvement of the disease.

How does Cartrophen work?

Cartrophen on the onset has a slower start in showing its effects but after the four week course of treatment, it shows a long persistence. Cartrophen helps in improving the underlying osteoarthritis. By trying to improve the metabolic process, it tries to relieve the joints and also the pains caused by osteoarthritis. The benefits are seen much more after the four weeks of stipulated treatment. Cartrophen helps in bringing about the following changes

  • Stops the enzymes responsible for the destruction of cartilages
  • Helps to increase of production of the body’s cartilages
  • Mobilises the deposits in the synovial tissues and blood vessels thus increasing the fluidity of cartilages
  • Strengthening and protecting cartilage
  • Decreases the cholesterol levels 
  • Clears the blockages thus increasing the blood supply to all the part of the body
  • Helps in the release of anti-inflammatory agents
  • Improving the quality and quantity of joint fluid
  • Stimulates in production of joint’s lubrication
  • Reducing pain and lameness

It is to be noted that Cartrophen cannot be used on dogs who have arthritis of immunological origin like rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Care to be taken during the course of Cartrophen

One of the main issues to be handled is the weight of your pet. 
Ensure that their weight is controlled because the excess weight will put excess strain on their joints and will accelerate the wear and tear of the joints. Follow a strict diet plan in consultation with your vet. In some cases, weight loss would show such an improvement in your dog that you would no longer need to give painkillers to him.

Another vital part is exercise. Keep your pet moving to maintain joint mobility. Simple exercises should be done maybe an occasional run or so. Dry your dog immediately after a wet or muddy walk. Even though your dog may tend to enjoy his walks check if he turns stiff or sore. If so try to find out what level of exercise he can cope up with so that it does not aggravate the symptoms. Just in case your pet has a sudden flare-up of osteoarthritis then reduce his exercise for a few days until his inflammation subsides.

Hydrotherapy is a non-weight bearing exercise. It is done in a controlled manner using warm water and specialized pieces of equipment. This therapy helps to improve the muscle tone and the range of movement of the joints. By performing hydrotherapy your dog could loose weight also. Take care that you have the hydrotherapy done at a registered center. This is because they will regularly inspect and chart progress and treatment.

Ensure that your dog’s diet has turmeric extract, hydrolyzed collagen, green tea extracts, etc as these help in supporting the joints and mobility. Dietary supplements can also help to modify the disease process. These supplements are very safe with very few side effects. Ensure you use a reputed branded supplement and discuss about the ingredients mentioned on its label with your vet before you start giving it to your dog. Some people say that by adding organic cider vinegar to its food or water will help in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis.

Check that your dog’s bedding is very comfortable and warm. See that the bedding is soft and spongy so that his joints feel good during his rest time. Ensure that his bed is not wet. During winter see that he has a dog-coat so that he is kept warm always.

Even though Cartrophen has proved to cure your dog of osteoarthritis there are still some more things to do to take care of your pet. Follow a strict diet plan and ensure his body weight is maintained. See that he does not put on a lot of weight. Do not push him to do a lot of exercise like how he was used earlier. Do not expect him to swim, jump, or run around. Lots of jumping and running can be bad for his joints. Restrict him to long, steady walks. Your dog needs your advice on when to stop. If he is doing some of the things which he could not do before the course of Cartrophen let him do because this shows signs of improvement.