Chances are that at some point in your life you will need to take some sort of painkiller – the same is true of your pets; for some conditions, such as arthritis, long-term painkillers are necessary.

When we are giving long-term painkillers we have to be a bit careful; the trouble is that any medicine you take will have affects on the body beyond those we specifically prescribe it for. For example “non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs” which are classically used in the long-term for arthritis (you may recognise such names as Loxicom, Metacam, Onsior and Previcox) can also have an effect on the stomach lining and on liver and kidneys. These affects are kept to an absolute minimum when these drugs are developed and the drugs are designed to be as safe as possible but problems can arise. That is why your vet may well take a blood sample before starting these medications long-term and why you are advised to stop giving them if your pet has an upset stomach. These are both sensible precautions and with good monitoring these drugs can be safely used for many years.

There is a relatively new pain-killer out for arthritis called Galliprant which is like a “non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug” but more clever and specific in the pain receptors it acts on – thus giving less side effects. I have put a few dogs on it now and it appears to be very effective, and according to the research these dogs should be at less risks of side affects. It is always good to have another string to your bow when treating long-term pain issues such as arthritis.