What is Arthritis?
It is the medical term that describes inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis (OA) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is chronic joint inflammation from the breakdown of joint cartilage. Cartilage is the smooth layer that covers the bone. It acts as a cushion for shock absorption when running/jumping and also makes fluid that keeps the joint lubricated for smooth movement. Once arthritis has occurred you cannot reverse the changes we can only help control the pain and slow down the process.
How do I know if my dog has Arthritis?
Large breed dogs are most commonly affected by it (especially in winter). However we still see many small dogs & cats that are suffering from arthritis too.
Dogs may be suffering from it if:
- Not as eager to play/jump/chase ball.
- Limps occasionally
- Has trouble climbing up/down stairs
- Has slow or stiff walk
- Is slow/reluctant to sit or stand up
Cats may be suffering from it if:
- Not as sociable. Looks for hiding places, sleeping longer than normal
- Not as eager to jump onto beds/ couches/tables
- Doesn’t enjoy being stroked anymore
- Grooming him/herself less often so coat has become dull/matted
- Leaves stool uncovered in litter box
- Treatment for Arthritis?
If you see any of these signs in your pet, please bring them in for a consultation with one of our friendly vets. Your vet may recommend sedation & x-rays to confirm the diagnosis but may also recommend the treatments below:
a) Weight loss
Recent studies have shown overweight animal suffer increased pain levels. Getting your pets weight under control can make your pet much more comfortable.
A variety of anti-inflammatory pain medication is available. Your vet may recommend:
They all help with pain & inflammation. Studies have shown a constant level of pain medication in the system gives much better pain-relief than only treating when necessary. (Please note: your vet may recommend blood tests before putting an older pet onto chronic pain medication).
Your vet may suggest one or more supplements that feed and support the joint cartilage. GCS-Max/ Pentosan Polysulphate (Tavan) injections or Hills J/D or Metabolic food. Hills food has high levels of EPA and omega 3 fatty acids that help interrupt cartilage breakdown and soothe joints.
d) Opiod pain killers
They can be used in combination with the other treatments as pain increases.
Alternative therapies such as acupuncture and hydrotherapy may also benefit your pet.
If you have any questions, please feel free to come in for a consultation with Dr Andre, Mariana or Lyndi