Musculoskeletal Issues

Support for muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and cartilage.

Figure of a person lifting heavy weights above their shoulders.

All animals experience musculoskeletal issues!

Musculoskeletal issues are awful. You just can’t get away from them. If your knee is sore, every time you move, you may experience pain. For animals, it is normal behavior to hide their pain. There are, however, many things we may see in the veterinary clinic that tip us off to bodily discomfort.

The word analyze with a magnifying glass

Each species of animal is a little bit different.  Okay, maybe a lot bit different!  But that is what makes Veterinary Medicine so intriguing to me.  It is like a mystery novel, to figure out what each individual animal is feeling, thinking, or experiencing – and to put together all of the pieces of the puzzle to find solutions is just a rewarding endeavor.

I do like to analyze things. Why is that cat not using the litter box? Why is the dog reluctant to go down the stairs all of a sudden? Would a horse with arthritis eat better from a taller trough, or from the ground? Did that parrot not like a wing examination “just because” or maybe the wing joints are painful with arthritis? It is true, my mind is usually “chugging away” on all sorts of questions! It is no wonder I am tired at the end of the day!

Essential Oils are AWESOME!

I do say it quite often – I LOVE ESSENTIAL OILS. And one of the main reasons why, is because at the end of the day, we truly may not have any of the answers to these sorts of questions. We are left to wonder “WHY” all the time in the animal kingdom – often frustrated by lack of a definitive diagnosis. Essential oils are beautiful in the fact that they are broad spectrum. So – if a dog is limping, but we cannot yet figure out exactly why – essential oils (and especially blends of them) are able to address multiple layers of possible causes. Is it just a basic sprain and inflammation? Well, almost all essential oils carry some sort of anti-inflammatory property. Is it a torn ligament? A bone chip? Nerve Pain? Bruised muscle? Maybe even a tick borne disease causing “poly-arthritis” and pain in multiple joints due to an immune response. No matter what the cause, inflammatory process, or end diagnosis – essential oils layer multiple benefits and actions together.

For an example – say a dog has Lyme Disease. This can cause inflammation and pain in multiple joints. In traditional veterinary practice, we would need to prescribe an antibiotic to address the bacterial portion of the disease. Then, we would need to prescribe additional medications to address the inflammation and pain associated with the disease as well. It would not be uncommon for an animal to go home with two to three medications to address all of symptoms at hand. Then, there might be side effects. The antibiotic may cause nausea, and poor eating. But, you MUST give the antibiotic to get rid of the Lyme Disease, right? So, then maybe some vets will prescribe an anti-nausea medication as well – or the all-to-popular “anti-nausea shot” is given. Now, not only do all of these medications start to add up to potential drug interactions and additional side effects, but – some of them may start to stress the liver or other body systems. And they most certainly do NOT aid in bolstering the immune system.

Wouldn’t it be nice if when we treated the inflammation in the joints, we might also build the immune system, reduce nausea, protect the stomach, and hey…why not add a bit of emotional support and stress relief in while we’re at it??? That’s why I think essential oils are SO COOL! They do that! I can make a sore joint feel better with say Peppermint or Copaiba – but also contribute to anti-nausea benefits, stomach protection, and liver damage reduction (which by the way is documented in research on Put essential oils into a blend – and we have even more power and ability to address those “hidden issues” that we may not know even exist.

Support for EVERY animal!

Let’s start at the smallest end of the spectrum – and work our way up in size of animal.  I’ll quickly discuss some of the symptoms we may see with musculoskeletal discomfort – and which essential oils blends would generally be recommended for each species.  Then, you’ll want to read more on the product pages for each animalEO blend – for further instructions on how to use our products.

Pet rat eating a treat

Small critters like rats, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and more can show many different symptoms of musculoskeletal discomfort.  Not drinking from their water bottle (hurts to lift their neck), not eating (hard to move around or climb up to a dish), biting because when we handle them they are sore…  These are especially the little creatures for which it can be hard to get an actual diagnosis.  They are just quite small to work up.  CritterBoost is an excellent blend for these animals.  It contains essential oils that will greatly benefit the musculoskeletal system – while also supporting proper immune function, and more. Although CritterBoost was created for very small animals – it can be used for cats, dogs, and other animals.  It is one of our most diluted all purpose blends – and can be used for everyone.  With small and exotic critters who can tolerate topical applications – CritterBoost is your best start. 

Cockatiel bird sitting on a hand

Birds are sometimes a bit different.  Although we can massage a tiny bit of CritterBoost into their feet – they usually enjoy a water-misting bath – so we can often use this to our advantage when using essential oils with birds.  My first selection for a bird who I suspect has a bit of arthritis or any sort of musculoskeletal concern – will be Feathered Plus NEAT.  The “Plus” version of this blend incorporates additional essential oils that are beneficial for many things, but will especially help with musculoskeletal concerns.  When made into a water-mist, the oils within Feathered Plus NEAT can be used even once or twice a day – creating a “happy application” for a bird, in a way they enjoy it the most.  

Any-Itis LITE can also be used orally (generally within foods) for birds – either alone, or in a combination of use with Feathered Plus water misting.  By using one or both of these items, we have found clinically that we can eliminate the need for prescription NSAIDs such as Metacam.  Birds are quite unique with symptoms they display due to musculoskeletal discomfort.  As an avian vet, I have seen everything from chronic screaming, wing flapping, night frights, and self-mutilation seem to be related to a variety of concerns.  Thankfully, even when I may not know directly what is causing the problem at hand – I have multiple layers of help being addressed when I use essential oils.  Feathered Plus NEAT in a water-misting spray will not only reduce inflammation but can aid in calming emotional stress!  That is a definite plus for avian households!

small grey kitten inside of a t-shirt pocket

Cats.  Yep, they are definitely unique.  And controversial.  You will want to read more on our website if you have any questions regarding cats and oils – on the Cat Page HERE.  For cats – we may see things like excessive grooming, biting or aggression when being pet, twitchy backs, poor use of the litter box, and more with musculoskeletal concerns.  Sometimes we may not even notice the symptoms of a sore senior kitty – as they may just tend to just sleep more.  However, once treated, and a cat has chronic inflammation relieved – we may see that the kitty who was not keeping its coat groomed and pretty – starts to groom again or that the senior kitty is jumping up on counters again!  With cats, we select products that are effective, yet easy to use.  KittyBoost or KittyBoost LITE are the main topical products you should select for musculoskeletal concerns, and really for any condition your cat may have.  It is truly an all purpose blend.  In terms of essential oils, KittyBoost contains all of the oils that are often included within other musculoskeletal blends – which are cat appropriate.  The KittyBoost blends also ensures that the ratios and concentrations of these oils are balanced and proper for felines (even though other species can use the blend as well!) Read more about these oils on their product pages.

New Mobility or Any-Itis for Cats?

Many people will ask if products such as New Mobility or Any-Itis can be used with cats, as they may have them already for other animals in the household. And while these products are still safe to use with cats – they are truly not the most cat friendly. New Mobility has a “pine” odor to it – and the concentrations are best suited for dogs, horses, and other larger animals. There are not many cats who enjoy smelling “fresh as a Carolina pine forest” – and so cats really should use KittyBoost or KittyBoost LITE as directed and described, instead of New Mobility. As for Any-Itis – it is quite heavy in “Peppermint” flavor. Which also is not a direct favorite for a cat. If your cat decides to love it – and eats your dogs food with Any-Itis in it – there is no big concern. It is still safe, and we do witness cats who DO like it. However, the majority will not. And if I started to recommend it routinely, I would say the larger percent of cats would not enjoy the attempt! However, you will note that all of the oils within Any-Itis are included in the KittyBoost blends. Therefore, they WILL be getting these essential oils – and also will ingest some while grooming – just not in a manner that might be overwhelming to a feline.

One exception to the recommendation for the use of the KittyBoost blends is if your kitty has an organ-specific concern. Then we may select a sister product – often known as the “Body Boosts”. So if your kitty has renal or urinary conditions – we may select to use UroBoost instead of KittyBoost. All of the Body Boosts (AdrenoBalance, CardioBoost, LiverBoost, NeuroBoost, SugarBalance, ThyroBalance, and UroBoost) – are basically KittyBoost – with the inclusion of additional essential oils that support that particular body system. So ThyroBalance can be used just as KittyBoost would be – however it contains additional Thyroid supportive essential oils – and will still be as effective for arthritis as plain KittyBoost would be.

kitten sitting in a litter box

Litteroma is the next thing I would recommend for cats.  It can be used alone, or with KittyBoost (or appropriate Body Boost) depending on what is most effective for your cat.  Sometimes depending on cat personality – we may select to only try Litteroma first.  For feral cats, or cats who would definitely not be fond of topical applications of essential oils – adding oils to the litterbox and allowing for absorption through the feet and grooming – is amazingly EASY!  Litteroma AllCat is my first recommendation for musculoskeletal concerns – however if your cat has a body specific concern, such as Hyperthyroidism, then selecting Litteroma ThyroidCat would be an excellent choice.  If Litteroma alone provides musculoskeletal relief to an older kitty – then great.  However, if we find that the cat is most comfortable through the use of KittyBoost and Litteroma – then we can do both! 

Chocolate lab with a training duck in its mouth

With Dogs, musculoskeletal concerns reign supreme. There does not seem to be a dog household in existence, that will escape dealing with some sort of issue. Older dogs with arthritis, active young pups who do silly things, search and rescue dogs being sore after work, ruptured ligaments, luxating patellas – the list goes on forever. There are many things we can do to support the entire dog – and certainly good diet, joint supplements, omega fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and proper hydration are key in maintaining health. But in terms of essential oils – there are several layers we can utilize for support.

New Mobility RTU is one of my favorite blends for topical use for dogs.  This blend contains a huge selection of oils that will help all of the tissues involved – muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, nerves, cartilage – while reducing inflammation and supporting proper health and immune system function.  When selecting which products I will use first, I often consider the dogs’ personality.  Would they accept a topical massage with New Mobility RTU more than they would accept a “pepperminty” taste added into their food?  Do they already tolerate the “petting” of essential oils onto their body?  Are there other health concerns that could also use support, while addressing a musculoskeletal issue?  We recommend reading the product page and all of the information tabs for any blend you are interested in using.  Please note – the NEAT version of New Mobility is intended for experienced Veterinarians, Aromatherapists, and animal care specialists who will be creating custom dilutions for their clients.  If you are not experienced with how to dilute oils, or to which percentage you should dilute for various concerns or species – you should only order the New Mobility RTU (Ready TUse).

Some dogs may have other health concerns or may be using other blends to aid in actions such as repelling fleas and ticks.  Boost in a Bottle or AromaBoost applications may be enough for many dogs to support musculoskeletal comfort.  Many of the essential oils within these different blends, will overlap – often contributing to joint comfort – even if that was not our primary intention in its use.

However, if we have a very sore dog – we are fortunate to be able to layer several approaches together to best support them.  So if we have a dog getting a weekly AromaBoost RTU application, but they also may need a daily massage with New Mobility RTU to maintain joint comfort – then we can do that!  Being able to create multiple layers of help, is very effective, and allows us flexibility in care, without additional side effects that increasing or adding traditional drugs together can show.

Any-Itis is another blend that we want to consider for dogs experiencing musculoskeletal concerns.  Read a Past Newsletter HERE.  With Any-Itis, I often consider this my “NSAID Replacer”.  For any condition that a vet may prescribe an NSAID (Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Metacam, etc…) or even a steroid drug – Any-Itis is generally recommended for use.  I mainly use this blend in food, twice a day.  Although it “can” be used topically – it is best suited for oral administration in my opinion.  All of the oils within Any-Itis are indeed in the other blends we recommend for topical use (New Mobility, Boost in a Bottle, AromaBoost).  

Any-Itis has been used long term (over a year) in hundreds, if not thousands of dogs.  And, we have used it (and all of our animalEO products) with every type of medication imaginable without detrimental effects.  In fact, with most cases, we find a synergistic effect with the administration of essential oils alongside of other medications – and sometimes see the need to reduce the dosage of prescription items.  While this is a desired effect, it is wise to recognize that if less of a prescription medication is needed – we may actually see side effects related to more of the drug being given, than is necessary.

When needed, I use Any-Itis added to food and New Mobility RTU as a topical massage – and I find this combination to be quite exceptional.  It can be added to existing protocols (ie Boost in a Bottle applications) and can easily be tailored to reflect amounts and frequencies that are needed for a certain individual.

While Any-Itis may not be necessary as a preventive measure – I do find that regular applications of Boost in a Bottle, AromaBoost RTU, or New Mobility RTU are very helpful for body support and health.  If I have a new puppy in my home, I might apply Boost in a Bottle at least weekly – and if that pup may be prone to knee issues of any sort, I might also make sure to either rub my hands over the knee with Boost in a Bottle residue on them, or use New Mobility RTU on an alternate day.

For any question on what to use for a dog who is experiencing musculoskeletal discomfort – you can be sure that my answer includes Any-Itis and New Mobility either alone or together – and will also always include addition of nutritional support for the joints.

Athletic horse turning around a barrel with a rider

Horses, goats, cows, llamas, pigs, and any other larger animals – are basically similar to dogs.  We can use items mentioned above as a rub topically, and we can also incorporate Any-Itis orally.  While we might think that these large animals “need” the NEAT versions of topical oils due to their size – this is being dispelled as we gain more and more experience.  New Mobility RTU is actually more effective as a rub onto a horses leg in the long run, than the New Mobility NEAT.  The Fractionated Coconut Oil within the RTU blends actually creates a slower, and more sustained absorption of essential oils into the body – so results seem to last a bit longer, and without the immediate evaporation seen with NEAT applications.  As a diluted formula – we may see that the impact of the application may be a bit less initially, but with repeat applications, will see more and more additive effects.

baby goat with tongue sticking out

With Any-Itis – the NEAT version is often well accepted by these animals in their feed.  Horses love the more intense peppermint flavor, and it does not seem to cause “avoidance” of the feed where the Any-Itis NEAT is the most concentrated (where the drops fall).  Again for these animals – we may select which product to use based on the ability for the farm to apply or administer, and by regarding the animal personality and preferences in general.  If no other feed is offered other than pasture or hay – then adding an item for oral administration twice a day may not be practical.  And if topical application of a blend can only happen once a day – then for sure our use of an RTU product within coconut oil, will allow for a longer, more sustained result.

The foot of a Camel

There are several other issues related to the musculoskeletal system, unique to these animals.  Hooves, claws, and toe nails. When issues may involve matters of these feet – then we may need to consider the addition of a blend such as HardyHoof. Again, this can be utilized with a product such as Any-Itis – but would be more appropriate to apply when there is an issue such as foot rot or a hoof abscess.  When needed, New Mobility RTU could still be massaged onto the leg of the affected hoof – but when we desire to drip oils directly onto a hoof lesion – HardyHoof would be a more correct selection.  

Don’t forget hempEO!

This full spectrum CBD product, blends the best of all worlds. Essential oils and full spectrum hemp! This is often a wonderful addition for an arthritic or sore animal!

Disclaimer:  This information was provided for educational purposes only, and has not been evaluated by the FDA.  It is not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, or treat any illness.  If you or your animal have a health concern, you are encouraged to seek the counsel of a health care professional who is knowledgeable in your area of interest.

*DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not to replace proper medical care and guidance. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA - and any recommendation is not intended to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease or condition. Please work with your veterinarian with any health concern.