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Natural Arthritis Treatment for Dogs in Chicago 


Helping senior pets maintain their mobility

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis also called osteoarthritis, is a condition involving inflammation and loss of cartilage within your pet's joints.  This can result in pain and changes to your pet's mobility. There is no single cause of arthritis but several factors may contribute including:

  • Body conformation (how a dog is built)

  • Obesity/overweight

  • Abnormal joint development (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, luxating patellas)

  • Injuries (previous factures, ligament damage, muscle injury)

  • Surgeries (TPLO, arthroscopy)

  • Repeated high impact activity (agility, fetch, sporting dogs)

Symptoms of Arthritis in a Dog

Dogs can show many different symptoms when they have arthritis and commonly owners attribute these symptoms to "getting old".  Dogs can be very good at hiding their pain. Once you know how to recognize the signs you can then seek out help to treat and manage their arthritis. 

  • Difficulty getting up and down

  • Walking stiffly

  • Limping in one or more legs

  • Reluctance to go up or down stairs

  • Reluctance to jump up or down (onto/off furniture)

  • Swollen joints

  • Slowing down on walks

  • Overgrooming joints or other body parts

  • Changes in posture

  • New and unexpected aggression or irritability


Healing Tails' treatment plan involves natural remedies that help address your dog's arthritis pain and reduce their dependency on chronic medications so they can maintain their mobility and independence. 

Deciding  how to help your pet deal with their arthritis can be confusing.  A quick google search results in so much information - everything from natural remedies to therapies all claiming to be the best thing to manage arthritis pain. There is so much information out there, it can be difficult to determine what might really help your pet.  Instead of seeking out help from friends and family or the internet, let us help you. As one of the only a few pet rehabilitation facilities in the Chicago area, we have years of experience and specific training on how to best treat arthritis pain in animals. 

During your dog's initial exam we will create a plan tailored specifically for their needs. We will also spend time discussing your personal goals for you and your pet to make sure that everyone is on the same page and can create a plan of action to best achieve those goals. We have seen clients waste not only their time, but hundreds of dollars on remedies and products that don't help. We stay up to date on all the current research so that we can help recommend: 

  • The best combination of supplements to slow the progression of osteoarthritis 

  • Changes to their medications for optimal pain relief

  • Home modifications to keep your pet most comfortable

  • Mobility assistive devices such as harnesses or ramps 

  • How to manage their exercise 

  • How to best care for your pets individual needs at home

  • Diet modifications to help your dog maintain a healthy weight

  • A physical rehabilitation treatment plan to help keep your pet mobile, comfortable and independent


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens during a visit for acupuncture?
    During your pet's assessment prior to the acupuncture treatmetn, the doctor may assess your pet for pain in addition to checking their tongue and pulse. While it may seem a little strange to check the tongue and pulse, checking both of these can provide information about your pet’s condition and can help the doctor determine the best acupuncture prescription for your pet. The needles are thin and push the skin out of the way rather than cut it. While some acupuncture points may be sensitive and cause slight discomfort once the needles are inserted, typically this discomfort quickly subsides. Some people worry that their pets may not tolerate the treatment, but most pets sit still for their treatments and some even fall asleep. We incorporate calming sounds, mood lighting and licky mats with peanut butter if needed to help keep your pet calm during their treatment.
  • What are side effects of acupuncture in pets?
    When performed by a trained and certified veterinary acupuncturist, acupuncture is generally safe with minimal side effects. Some patients may have a temporary worsening of their symptoms or may be a little sore for 24-28 hours following the treatment. Bruising, breaking of the needle, needle ingestion or puncture of internal organs are all extremely rare but possible side effects which owner's should be made aware of.
  • How long are the acupuncture treatments for my pet?
    Our acupuncture appointments are scheduled for 30 minutes. Depending on the pet, the acupuncture needles may remain in place anywhere for 12- 25 minutes.
  • Who can perform the acupuncture treatments for my pet?
    Acupuncture treatments should only peformed by a licensed veterinarian who is trained in acupunture treatments for pets. Dr. Arielle performs all of the acupuncture treatments for pets at Healing Tails. She received her training through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
  • Should acupuncture be used instead of western medicine?
    Acupuncture should be used in conjunction with traditional western medical diagnostics, work-ups and treatments. In some cases clients are able to reduce the dose of pain medications or eliminate them altogether under the guidance of their veterinarian. It is important to discuss your goals for your pet's treatment during their intial exam.
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