Arthritis Management


What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the deterioration of the cartilage on the end of the bones. When this cartilage wears out, the result is “bone on bone.” This causes reduced joint motion and can be very painful. When the process of arthritis begins, it produces a vicious cycle of inflammation and pain, which leads to decreased activity, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass.

Did You Know?

  • In the United States, 20% of adult dogs are affected by osteoarthritis.
  • It is the NUMBER ONE cause of chronic pain in dogs.
  • Overweight and obese dogs are greatly affected by OA
  • OA can be secondary to trauma (i.e., instability)
  • OA can develop as a result of abnormal joints (i.e., dysplasias, developmental disorders, etc.)

What are some of the signs of arthritis pain?

  • Joint pain and/or swelling
  • Lameness
  • Muscle loss
  • Stiffness upon rising
  • Reluctance to go up/down stairs or jump up/down on furniture or in/out of the car
  • Refuses to go on walks or play ball
  • Difficulty posturing to toilet
  • Decreased activity level
  • Change in appetite or temperament (i.e., grumpy)
  • Licking or biting an affected joint
  • Restlessness (paces a lot, won’t lie down)
  • Shivering
  • Seeking warmth and/or more comfortable bedding

Multi-Modal Pain Management for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis:


Arthritis cannot be cured—it must be MANAGED. The best way to break the cycle of pain, weight gain, and muscle loss is to manage the disease using a variety of therapies and modalities. All of the therapies and modalities work synergistically (like a rowing team).

Our certified canine rehabilitation practitioners (CCRPs) at the Animal Rehabilitation Center of Michigan will develop a therapy plan that fits your pet’s individual needs. Together with your veterinarian, we will create a multi-modal program to ensure that your pet’s arthritis is optimally managed and his/her quality of life is restored to the fullest extent possible.

Approaches to Multi-Modal Pain Management:

  • Pain control
  • Condroprotectants
  • Weight control and nutrition management
  • Rehabilitation
  • Hydrotherapy (i.e., walking in our underwater treadmill)
  • Deep Tissue Laser Therapy
  • Heat Therapy and Cryotherapy
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)
  • Acupuncture
  • Environmental modification (i.e., eliminating slippery surfaces, adding padded bedding, clipping nails and hair on footpads, adding doggy steps, raised dishes, etc.)

Together we can create a plan that will maximize your dog’s quality of life.

Michigan's first rehabilitation center.

We are dedicated to providing excellent care.


1490 Lochaven Rd
Waterford, MI 48327
Click here for directions.


Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm
(By appointment only)
Saturday: 8am - 6pm
(By appointment only)

Contact Info

Phone: 248-363-5061
Fax: (248) 363-1138

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