Arthritis - Is Your Best Friend Suffering From Unnecessary Pain?
What is arthritis?
Arthritis in pets is very similar to the disease in humans. It is a condition where your pet’s joints become inflamed. As the inflammation increases the joints become swollen, and this results in pain, stiffness and immobility. Arthritis symptoms range across a wide spectrum from mild to severe, and may be hard to spot at first. You may notice your dog taking a little longer to get up in the morning, or your cat not able to jump as high as she used to. As symptoms grow worse it becomes more clear that your pet is having a hard time getting around. If she could talk, she would tell you she was in pain.
Treating your pet right
As your pet ages you’ll notice subtle changes. It’s important to understand normal aging versus abnormal changes in your pet’s health. Pet owners will sometimes attribute initial arthritis signs to “old age” or “slowing down.” Watching your pet carefully as you interact with them and knowing the warning signs, a pet owner can detect changes and symptoms early. This allows your veterinarian to begin treatment before symptoms advance to a more severe and debilitating level.
Obtain an accurate diagnosis!
The key to proper treatment is to obtain an accurate diagnosis. The symptoms of arthritis can be hard to distinguish. A combination of medical history, physical exam, radiographs, and blood tests are required to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the appropriate medical therapy
Each pet is unique and every treatment program is different. After completing your pet’s arthritis screening, your veterinarian will customize a treatment program to best meet your pet’s special requirements. Treatment may include dietary changes, exercise, drug therapy, and weight management. Together, these elements can help relieve joint stress and build muscle strength to help your pet remains an active part of your family.
- Weight management: The less an animal weighs, the less stress their body places upon overstressed joints. Maintaining your pet’s weight in the low to normal range will be important in helping relieve the pain of arthritis, as well as slowing the rate of degeneration by lessening the overall strain on the joint.
- Exercise management: It is important to encourage a program of exercise that will help keep weight down, and improve flexibility and joint movement. Too much exercise, going up and down stairs, inclines etc. should be avoided. You’ll want to warm up, not overstress your pet’s joints.
- Diet management & supplements: Prescription joint food has been a recent advance that has actually shown anti-inflammatory activity in dogs. Specific formulations of nutritional supplements are another option for inflammation and cartilage support in both dogs and cats. Both are useful non-drug therapies for use alone in early arthritis, or as a way to help decrease drug dosages for animals in more severe pain.
- Drug therapy: There are medical treatments for dog arthritis sufferers to help alleviate your pet’s pain. Non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are indicated for the relief of pain and inflammation.
Arthritis affects 1 in 5
adult dogs...Ask us how we can help keep your pet happy & comfortable!
Signs of Arthritis
Does Your Pet...
- Exhibit stiffness, or lameness?
- Seem reluctant to rise or walk?
- Whine or whimper?
- Find climbing steps, or jumping difficult?
- Exhibit pain when touched?
- Exhibit a reduced range of motion?