Arthritis (Degenerative Joint Disorder) actually is an acquired progressive disorder, not a disease as it is commonly referred to ("Degenerative Joint Disease").
Arthritis describes the condition of chronic cartilage inflammation, the cartilage at the joints between bones. This type of inflammation causes pain, and over time the inflammation leads to the degeneration of the cartilage such that the friction of rubbing bones causes even more pain.
Allopathic vets and MDs alike typically portray Arthritis as unavoidable with increasing age and body wear. We know today however that although cartilage naturally deteriorates with age and body wear, Arthritis anytime before old age clearly is a preventable disorder.
This is because chondrocytes and the synovial fluid that nurture cartilage both are sensitive to poor diet, lab medicaments, and an impaired immune system. Immune system impairment too is primarily caused by:
Thus the better you avoid a poor diet and vaccinations and immunosuppressive drugs, the less likely that your dog (or you) will experience Arthritis early, or indeed at all! Note that many dogs (and people) never experience Arthritis in their whole life.
Who Suffers Arthritis
Healthy German Shepherds are not more susceptible to Arthritis than other dogs. However, as the joints at hips and shoulders are particularly weak in dogs with Hip Dysplasia or Elbow Dysplasia, German Shepherds with either defect are likely to also suffer Arthritis, and rather early.
In general, purebred dogs are more susceptible to Arthritis as well as other disorders: all types of Allergies, Tumors, Diabetes, Bloat or Gastric Torsion, Obesity, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, etc. This is because the same likelihood for genetic mutation impacts on the narrower gene pool in every dog generation.
In addition, larger dogs with a lot of weight put on their joints, and dogs that get little exercise and thus insufficient training to support the muscles, are more susceptible to Arthritis. Accordingly Obesity is a major contributing factor.
Finally, dogs that put undue stress on their joints (eg excessive jumping) are much more likely to suffer Arthritis at some point in life. However younger dogs that are kept healthy would normally only suffer Arthritis if they sustain an injury that puts undue stress on the joints.
Again, the easiest way to keep a dog healthy is:
- Share only REAL foods with the dog, don't pay for industrial crap.
- Don't pay for unnecessary vaccinations, and certainly not for "boosters"!
- Decline to pay for immunosuppressive anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids and NSAIDs).
Easy! And saves you a ton of money too!
- feeding industrial crap
- over-vaccinated dog (foolish "boosters")
- steroids administration
- overweight dog
- insufficient exercise
- too much jumping
- losing full range of motion
- sitting or lying down awkwardly
- slowing down quickly on longer walks
- cannot get up the stairs, or down
- trouble getting into or out of the car.
Arthritis can be entirely prevented, or at least delayed and alleviated with:
- REAL food natural diet *
- avoiding unnecessary vaccinations and all "boosters" *
- strictly avoiding steroids administration *
- regular gentle exercise and playtime together
- avoiding too much jumping (jumping high is much more harmful than jumping far, say during energetic runs)
- avoiding insecticides in flea and tick remedies
- avoiding pesticides in yard care
- avoiding other lab chemicals wherever possible.
* I trust the repetition of the life-saving points sinks in?
Although Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia are finally declining, both forms of dysplasia are still common among German Shepherds, and both promote Arthritis too. Hence, here you have another reason why you should ensure that, if not from a rescue center, you get your (next) dog from a reputable breeder who tests both dam and sire for dysplasia (and other hereditary defects) before undertaking the breeding venture!
The key in the treatment of Arthritis is to nurture cartilage tissue via the chondrocytes and synovial fluid. In general this is no different to nurturing any other body cells: You cannot nurture cells with colorful cutely shaped dry mass aka kibble, nor with chips, flips, fries, crackers, donuts, cookies, cake, etc, nor with "joint health" food supplements.
You can only nurture cells with REAL foods, natural foods, unprocessed foods that have the naturally high water content that allows the human and canine organism to absorb the nutrients in the foods! And above I wrote "in general" because damage to cartilage is not readily repaired by the body as cartilage doesn't have its own blood supply. This is why Arthritis treatment takes longer.
Also consider, even the best nurturing is of little value if you then also provide the organism with known cell toxins:
- vaccines are combinations of weakened or killed pathogens together with cell toxins as powerful adjuvants
- herbicides in yard care products
- volatile organic compounds (VOC) and surfactants in household detergents and carpet adhesives
- insecticides in flea and tick collars
- uncounted allergens and carcinogens in lab medicaments, etc.
Effective treatment of Arthritis has to incorporate all of the above: the nurturing of the cartilage tissue and avoiding its intoxication. A side effect of this successful cartilage rehabilitation is that it will also remove any pain and improve the range of motion for the dog and person alike.
Conversely, what you typically will pay for when you see an allopathic physician to treat Arthritis is:
- first visit: analgesics to relieve pain and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to further relieve pain via reducing the inflammation (CASH)
- second visit: steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Prednisolone (More CASH)
- third visit: they recommend joint surgery! (Holiday CASH)
Did you notice how very similar the allopathic treatment protocol for Arthritis is with the allopathic treatment protocol for the entirely different condition of Anal Infections?
This allopathic blanket treatment protocol is no coincidence: Allopathic treatment options are
- first confined to lab medicaments (plenty of analgesics, steroids, NSAIDs, or antibiotics) - because medicaments have a fairly low barrier to entry for the paying medical consumer: you will go ahead without a second thought!
- and allopathic treatment options often end with surgery - once you got "accustomed" to the much higher price ticket of surgery, you're supposed to conclude: "I went this far, now let's not stop before having tried surgery as well"...!
Also be aware that the treatment attempts of ordinary allopathic vets and MDs generally cause more "side effects" than they do good because allopathic physicians focus on the symptoms, not the cause, here of Arthritis.
Thus back to the so much more sensible holistic treatment of Arthritis: In addition to rehabilitating cartilage tissue (nurturing it and avoiding intoxication), Arthritis treatment focuses on strengthening the joints through gentle exercises (ideally in water bodies) and training the supporting muscles (ideally not in water bodies). This in itself usually relieves most of the pain and improves the range of motion too.
Notice that all of this holistic treatment protocol for Arthritis is entirely void of medicaments and does not cause any "side effects" at all!
"What? Why is it not even trying to?"
Because the inflamed joints and any resulting pain will make the dog (or you) move around with care, taking it easy on the body while under repair: The inflammation starts the healing process - IF YOU LET IT and if you support the healing process (nurturing the cartilage, avoiding cell intoxication etc, see above), not hinder it.
Think: Healing is impossible when the dog (or you) continue to live and "jump around" exactly like before! The prior "lifestyle" is what brought your dog (or you) the misery. The evolutionary purpose of pain is to thwart further damage, to thwart harm to the body!
"Does that mean the dog (or I) have to accept living with pain??"
No. The pain will disappear even before healing is accomplished - IF YOU LET HEALING GET UNDERWAY. Imagine you are the parent of your body like the parent of your child. Would you allow your child (body) to continue crossing roads without looking left and right for safety?
No. You would only allow your child (body) to continue crossing roads ONCE IT SHOWS TO BE CAREFUL. Now you may replace "crossing roads" with anything else. Because both dogs and people only made it through evolutionary history to exist today after early dogs and people had learned to pay attention to their bodily pain.
Not to forget, painkillers without anti-inflammatory properties have their merit - ONCE YOU LET HEALING GET UNDERWAY.
Other than this, many dog owners swear on a daily tablet or two of the joint health supplement Nutramax Dasuquin with MSM, which they say has removed all Arthritis symptoms in their dog. So much so that some have claimed that even 12 year old dogs are "suddenly jumping around like puppies again".
And indeed, Arthritis is the main condition where even many allopathic veterinarians recommend the administration of this particular joint health supplement. Either way, note that NO health supplement can replace the need to nurture cartilage tissue with REAL foods, and to avoid cell intoxication.