As our companion animals become older, you may start to notice the negative effects of osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a common condition causing inflammation, swelling, pain and discomfort in joints. There are many treatment options available to help control arthritis in our pets. If you think your pet may have osteoarthritis, please speak to your veterinarian. They can examine your animal, discuss your concerns, and work with you to put together a plan to help improve and manage the problems you are seeing.

This post will cover some of the more commonly employed types of joint supportive treatment that can be used in conjunction with things like anti-inflammatory drugs and other forms of pain relief that a veterinarian may prescribe. A well-rounded approach to arthritis is key to achieving the best possible results and often we will recommend doing more than one thing simultaneously.

Laser therapy

What is it? 

Laser therapy is a non-invasive, pain free, surgery free, drug free alternative to costlier and more invasive options, to help reduce pain and inflammation, and accelerate tissue repair.

How does it work?

During treatment of an area, laser light penetrates deep into tissues which stimulates improved blood flow, oxygen transport and the production of cellular energy. This in turn allows normal tissue repair processes to occur at an accelerated pace, with reduction of inflammation and pain. Improvement may be seen after the first treatment, and your pet’s condition will continue to improve with subsequent visits.  Laser therapy may be used to treat a wide variety of both acute and chronic conditions.

Synovan Injections

What are they? 

Synovan is an injection containing the active ingredient pentosan polysulfate and acetyl glucosamine. It is most effective when administered during the early stages of arthritis. 

How do they work?

Osteoarthritis involves the degradation of joint cartilage by a group of specific enzymes. Synovan injections primarily work by inhibiting those enzymes and in turn, preserving joint cartilage and assisting in its repair. Injections are generally administered weekly for a series of four injections, with benefits potentially lasting up to 6 months. The use of Synovan can be very effective and significantly reduce our reliance on other means of arthritis management, such as pain medications and anti-inflammatories.

Arthritis Supplements

Supplements are a useful additional means to provide support to your animal with osteoarthritis. While they don’t tend to form the mainstay of treatment, they are still something that we recommend in an effort to get the best possible outcome for your pet. There are a wide variety of supplements available, and it may be best to speak to your vet about this to form a plan. Some include ingredients that people also take, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil. There are other pet-specific products such as Sasha’s Blend® and 4CYTE® that contain ingredients like New Zealand green-lipped mussel, abalone cartilage and a plant-based oil.


Some of the premium pet-food manufacturers such as Hill’s and Royal Canin produce diets that are specifically designed to alleviate the signs of osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. These diets are nutritionally balanced as a “maintenance” diet for your mature pet, and also contain various arthritis supplements and other ingredients such as fatty acids to help promote cartilage health and reduce joint inflammation.