Your four-legged family member means the world to you. Trust us, we get it. Here at Honest Paws, we are all dog owners. Therefore, we understand how heart-wrenching it can be to witness your dog getting older and experience the aches and pains associated with aging.
The fact that dogs are notorious for hiding pain presents another troubling issue. If and when your dog does begin to show signs of distress, often times it has progressed quite a lot and their suffering is likely severe. Therefore, it is imperative that pet owners know the clinical signs associated with pain in order to recognize any irregularities in their dog's behavior early on.
Furthermore, part of being a responsible dog owner is knowing what to do next. A trip to your vet's office will likely leave you with a medication that promises a pain-free existence but may not deliver what you hoped for.
In this article, we'll cover a relatively newer medication called Galliprant. It is imperative to understand the pros and cons associated with any new medicine prior to administering it to your furry friend. Furthermore, we'll discuss alternative treatment options available and why you should strongly consider them.
What is Galliprant for Dogs
Galliprant for dogs is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) developed to treat pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. The medication requires a prescription and should only be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian.
How Does Galliprant Work
Many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that are also developed to manage pain work by inhibiting the COX enzyme which therefore inhibits the development of inflammation. However, these medications target the entire COX pathway, including its protective functions. Therefore, a magnitude of adverse reactions may possibly develop.
Galliprant it different. It works by targeting the EP4 receptor, the main contributor of pain and inflammation associated with canine osteoarthritis. Galliprant does this without involving the COX pathway, differing it greatly from other NSAIDs on the market.
In fact, due to its safety margins, Galliprant is one of the only NSAIDs that doesn't require regular expensive and invasive monitoring of the vital organs that is often necessary for other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Additionally, studies have found that many dogs who weren't able to tolerate other conventional anti-inflammatory drugs are actually able to handle Galliprant without any issues.
What is Galliprant Used For
Veterinarians prescribe Galliprant to treat pain and inflammation associated with canine osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a general term used to describe abnormal changes in the joint. There are several different types of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common among them. In fact, studies show that osteoarthritis affects approximately one in five dogs.
What is Canine Osteoarthritis
In most cases, osteoarthritis is a progressive disease. It develops as the joints and cartilage break down from years of constant activity thus resulting in accumulated wear and tear on the body. However, there are other cases where certain factors cause the disease to develop early on or very rapidly.
In some cases, signs of canine osteoarthritis can develop before the dog is a year old. This is where a medication like Galliprant may be necessary. Galliprant has proven to be safe to use in dogs as young as nine months old, unlike many other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which can cause significant harm in dogs with developing immune systems. However, even with Galliprant, long term use of any drug will require regular monitoring to ensure the dog's system is continuing to react positively towards the medicine.
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs
Because a condition like osteoarthritis can develop at any age or with specific circumstances, we feel it is incredibly important for dog owners to recognize early signs whenever possible.
Some of the earliest signs of arthritis are merely a reluctance to do certain activities that were once enjoyed. Osteoarthritis pain can result in even the simplest things becoming challenges. Your dog may shy away from going on walks or find little interest in playing catch.
Additionally, dog owners should be aware of the following symptoms of pain:
- General stiffness
- Reluctance to stand
- Difficulty laying down
- Moving slowly with caution
- Increased lethargy
- Sleeping excessively
- Abnormal movements (limping or dragging of the limbs)
- Decreased mobility
- Visible joint deformities
- Visibly swollen joints
- Aggression (particularly around the arthritic joints)
- Personality changes (including irritability and/or depression)
- Intermittent lameness
- Weight gain (from a lack of movement)
We want to mention that many of the aforementioned clinical signs of arthritis are considered to be "non-specific symptoms." In other words, while they are certainly symptoms of arthritis, they are also symptoms of a slew of other conditions. For this reason (among others) it is imperative that dog owners receive an accurate diagnosis from their veterinarian. Your veterinarian will also be able to rule out other other issues that may need to be addressed before the osteoarthritis pain can be relieved.
What Are NSAIDs for Dogs
It is important for dog owners to have a solid understanding of exactly what non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are. Even though studies are finding Galliprant to involve significantly fewer side effects, it is still very much an NSAID.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are primarily prescribed to manage pain and inflammation resulting from a slew of diseases and ailments, but perhaps most often it is prescribed for osteoarthritis pain. NSAIDs may also be prescribed to manage post-operative pain. Common NSAIDs include drugs such as Rimadyl(Rimadyl Carprofen), Metacam, Deramaxx, and Previcox.
Here's where things get worrisome. All NSAIDs come with a laundry list of potential side effects. Yes, some are worse than others and in comparison, Galliprant's truly aren't among the worst. However, they still very much exist. It is so crucial for pet parents to know the side effects associated with whichever NSAID their dog is prescribed. Know that you have options. If the medication you are using to manage your dog's mild pain is directly linked to liver failure, you may want to explore other alternatives.
Additionally, overdoses from the accidental ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not only real, but occur more often than you may imagine. For example, Rimadyl chewable tablets are liver-flavored which makes them easy for pet parents to administer. However, it also makes Fido think of them as more of a treat than a medication. It is imperative that pet owners keep all medication out of reach of both children and dogs. Overdoses can not only cause irreversible damage, but also death.
When administering Galliprant is it imperative that you follow the guidelines from your veterinarian. We understand that there's nothing more that a pet parent wants other than to alleviate their dog's OA pain. However, by no means should a dog owner increase the dosage without first talking to their vet. While many dogs only experience minor side effects, a Galliprant overdose can cause horrific, potentially irreversible harm to your dog and should always be avoided.
Your veterinarian will ultimately determine specific dosages for your dog's individual needs. Keeping that in mind, studies show that most dogs experience relief from either one whole or one-half tablet administered once a day.
Before prescribing Galliprant, it is important for your veterinarian to be implicitly aware of any other medications that your dog is currently taking. Additionally, make sure your vet knows about any allergies and pre-existing health issues. This information will help prevent any negative interactions.
For instance, dogs should not take Galliprant in combination with any COX-inhibiting NSAIDs or corticosteroids. Also, dogs with a high sensitivity to grapiprant should not take Galliprant.
Additionally, dogs under 8 pounds cannot be accurately dosed.
Finally, because Galliprant is still a relatively new medication, experts cannot say for certain whether any additional precautions may arise in the future. With all new (and old) medications, it is always a good idea to check back from time to time to see if any new information is available.
Galliprant Side Effects
Unlike many other NSAIDs, Galliprant's side effects have shown to be quite infrequent and mild in severity.
The side effects include:
- Decreased appetite
You'll find that gastrointestinal issues are fairly common when it comes to all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, with Galliprant, many pet owners report that the issues aren't nearly as severe as it was with other medications.
Alternative Pain Meds for Dogs
Of course, whenever possible many pet parents find themselves actively seeking alternative forms of pain medication that can result in even fewer potential adverse reactions. It makes sense. Sure, a conventional drug like Galliprant may relieve your dog's OA pain, but conversely, cause spells of gastrointestinal upset or excessive lethargy. Luckily, there are ways that dog owners are able to relieve Fido's pain and avoid nearly every aforementioned side effect.
Glucosamine for Dogs
Speaking of joint support, adding a glucosamine supplement can also make a world of difference for Fido. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring compound made of a sugar and an amino acid (glucose+glutamine). The compound promotes the growth and repair of the cartilage and synovial fluid. It also shares the responsibility of protecting the joints. The body already produces glucosamine naturally. However, increasing glucosamine levels through implementing a glucosamine supplement can help improve overall joint health. The dietary addition can also serve as a preventive.
Raw Food Diet
Finally... diet, diet, diet! We cannot stress the importance of diet enough. For instance, pet owners have found that simply adding a supplement such as Omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish oil) can significantly reduce OA pain. Additionally, experts have found that implementing a raw food diet can greatly help a dog suffering from pain. It is so important that you are feeding Fido a diet that encompasses all of the necessary nutrition that their body needs. Trust us, it really, really matters in the long run.
Galliprant for Dogs: A Final Thought
When all is said and done, we want to reiterate that osteoarthritis in dogs should by no means be the end of life as they once knew it. Between advancements in veterinary medicine and new discoveries in holistic wellness, our dogs do not have to live in pain. However, before eagerly agreeing to a new, promising medication, know what is at stake. Do the pros greatly outweigh the cons? Are there alternative options available? Knowledge is power. The more you know about your dog's condition and the medication prescribed to treat it, the better decision you will be able to make for your dog's wellbeing and quality of life.
Pain relief is possible and may be closer than you think.
We sincerely hope your pup feels better soon.