Arthritis in Pets
Well the cold times are here again, and maybe the poor old pet is having trouble getting going in the morning. Chances are it is not due to laziness, but it is in fact arthritis!
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a disease condition that affects joints either individually or generally. The cartilage lining of the joints wears down and the lubricating oil in the joint is less than it should be.
What are the signs of arthritis?
In pets, arthritis is particularly common in the hips and knees, especially in older dogs of the bigger breeds or cats that were very active.
The following brief questionnaire may help to assess your pet for signs of osteoarthritis:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty climbing steps
- Difficulty rising from a resting position
- Experiencing a change in behaviour
- Laziness or lack of desire to play or walk
- LimpingLying down or resting more than normal
- Reluctant to exercise for as long as usual
If your answer is "yes" to any of the above questions, then ask us to examine your pet for osteoarthritis and provide advice on treatment options.
Weight control and nutrition are important factors in managing osteoarthritis. Obesity can contribute to canine osteoarthritis. If a joint is not working efficiently, carrying excess weight causes both additional pain and increased joint damage. Appropriate nutrition can help to maintain your dog’s ideal weight. Try the following tips for controlling dietary intake and body weight:
- Refrain from over-feeding young dogs
- Check with your vet before adding dietary supplements
- Feed your dog smaller portions of less-fattening foods
- Cut out any "extras"
- How physical activity may aid the management of osteoarthritis
Exercise may be beneficial in the management of osteoarthritis as it can:
- Prevent obesity and maintain muscle mass
- Improve strength and range of motion
- Reduce the need for the use of analgesics
- Keep joints and muscles free in movement (joints that do not move regularly may stiffen, causing your dog to become less active)
Exercise may take the form of walks on the leash or more varied types of recreation. Even small amounts of exercise can be beneficial. Depending on your dog’s condition, frequent gentle walks may be of more benefit than highly energetic activities.
Can arthritis be treated?
Generally speaking most people don't think there is anything that can be done for arthritis. Well, the good news is that we can help! There are a number of treatments that can be used for arthritis, some with limitations.
We routinely X-ray cases before therapy to make sure the dog is actually suffering from arthritis and not other problems e.g. infection in the bones of the lumbar spine, slipped disc or even cancer.
Obesity in Pets
Senior Pet Programme