DOES YOUR PET HAVE ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis doesn’t just affect humans. In fact, one in five dogs and one in three cats will be affected by the joint disorder at some point in their lives.
Does your pet:
•• Have difficulty rising from a resting position?
•• Appear stiff after exercise?
•• Have trouble climbing stairs?
•• Have difficulty walking, running or jumping?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, your pet could be suffering from arthritis.
Arthritis is a condition that you’re no doubt aware of in humans but did you know that it also is a condition that affects our pets?
In dogs the condition is quite common, affecting more than one in five. In cats the condition is equally as common but often goes unnoticed as they adapt extremely well to disabilities.
This painful degenerative disease can occur at any age or weight and at its worst, especially if left untreated, can cause chronic pain, movement difficulties and a decline in quality of life.
What causes arthritis?
Most of the joints in the body depend on a layer of cartilage which acts as a cushion and provides a smooth surface so the adjoining bones can move freely over each other. This cartilage is assisted by the lubrication provided by synovial fluid, the oily liquid in joints. Changes in the joint occur when the cartilage is worn away faster than it is replaced, resulting in arthritis.
Arthritis cannot be cured but the pain and discomfort can be effectively managed and controlled.
There are four important areas of therapy for managing arthritis:
1. Good nutrition: It has been proven that feeding your pet a good quality food rich in EPA and omega 3 fatty acids, such as Hills Prescription Diet j/d, will slow the cycle of deterioration and helps your pet retain more cartilage. Joint problems are also aggravated by obesity so it’s important for your pet to maintain a healthy physique. Feeding your pet high quality foods can also reduce the amount of pain killers your pet needs to take, resulting in lower costs and the reduced risk of problems occurring from the possible long term side effects of medications.
2. Exercise: Over exertion will put an excessive strain on the joints, however not enough exercise leads to greater stiffness and muscle wastage. Gentle regular exercise such as short walks or swimming is best as this keeps the joints moving and the muscle in tone.
3. Environment: Ensuring that your pet has a well padded, warm bed away from draughts will help reduce the stress on the joints. Reducing the number of stairs or the steepness of the slope your pet must navigate to reach their bed will also help to reduce discomfort.
4. Effective medication: Treatment for arthritis will often include medications which protect, nourish and lubricate joints. There are many medications available for the treatment of arthritis, such as daily medication and weekly injections. If a good quality diet designed for the management of arthritis, such as Hills Prescription Diet j/d, is not fed, nutritional supplements which promote cartilage formation and reduce inflammation in the joints are often recommended.
If you think your pet may be suffering from arthritis, help make them happy and enjoy life again.
Call us to make an appointment. Visit Cairns Vet Clinic for further details.
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