Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative joint disease that dogs and humans, unfortunately, have in common.
In the United States, roughly 20% of humans and more than 20% of canines suffer from osteoarthritis. Treatment usually involves multiple medications including an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory), pain relief (Tramadol, Gabapentin), Adequan injections (which helps with cartilage), PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma - which helps with growth & healing), joint supplements (glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate), weight reduction, physical therapy, and acupuncture.
Some of these medications are often taken long term and some of them can have side effects (gastrointestinal and kidney problems). But now a new medication has recently been approved by the USDA for the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs. It is also approved for the treatment of Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus in the cat. The name of this injectable medication is LTCI (Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator). It is a very safe and effective treatment with virtually no side effects.
Osteoarthritis has an immune-mediated disease process associated with it. In other words, there is no set group of causes but there are common inflammatory pathways leading to inflammation. LTCI is a naturally occurring biologic that affects this underlying disease process. Pain medications and NSAIDs tend to treat only the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Not only is LTCI is a safe effective treatment for osteoarthritis in dogs but it actually affects the mechanism of disease.
The treatment schedules usually involve 3 doses initially at weeks 1 and 2, and 2 doses in weeks 3 and 4. From there, LTCI injections can be given monthly or twice a month depending on therapeutic results. In one study more than 90% of the dogs showed improved mobility, and we here have seen clear results with our own clients.
As always, speak with your veterinarian to find out if your pet is a good candidate for LTCI treatment.