Arthritis is one of the oldest diseases in history, and it doesn’t discriminate. It affects pets both young and old.
Older cats and dogs commonly suffer from osteo-arthritis – a degenerative disease of the joints, younger animals can be affected too - either through injury, or have inherited poor joint conformation.
Pets have a tendency to hide the symptoms of arthritis. The early stages of the disease when treatment would be most effective can easily be missed.
Arthritis basically means inflammation of the joints. Most of the joints in the body depend on a layer of cartilage acting as a cushion, which also provides a smooth surface so the adjoining bones can move freely over each other. This is assisted by the lubrication provided by the synovial fluid, the oily liquid in joints. The joints commonly affected are the shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips.
The best thing is you can do for your pet is get an early diagnosis and start a treatment plan as soon as possible to manage the arthritis.
Because your pet can’t explain what’s wrong with them, it’s important to watch for closely for clues, and take even subtle changes seriously.
If your pet seems to have any of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, they need to see a veterinarian for a check up / arthritis evaluation, which will involve a physical exam and possibly X-rays, and treatment options:
- Difficulty rising from a rest position
- Reluctant to walk
- Decreased activity and less interest to play
- Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
- Weight gain
- Excessive licking of the affected joints.
- Change in attitude or behaviour
Once arthritis is diagnosed we have quite a selection of treatment options:
- Weight and exercise moderation are sometimes key areas to focus on
- Nutritional supplement containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate or Omega fatty acids such as Dog On, Joint Guard, Flax Seed Oil, Bomazeal Mobilize tablets.
- Change to a “senior” or “Joint care” diet
- A drug treatment that helps relieves the pain and decreases the disease progression.
- A veterinarian-prescribed Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs