NSAIDs, most commonly phenylbutazone, are effective in treating arthritis pain in large animals, including cows, says the Merck Veterinary Manual. In acute traumatic cases of arthritis, injected corticosteroids can relieve discomfort.
Physical therapy is a helpful part of treating arthritis in large animals, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. When used routinely, treatments such as icing, exposing the joints to cold water, and swimming may help to reduce symptoms of arthritis. Joint drainage may also provide temporary relief, but in severe cases, a vet may go into the joint to remove inflammatory substances and debris left by cartilage, providing long-term relief.