Arthritis in cats and dogs
Many humans suffer from arthritis and know how irritating and painful it can be, especially in the colder months.Dogs and Cats are also prone to the debilitating effects of this disease.
In dogs the most common signs are:
- stiffness getting up
- decrease in activity level
- excessive licking at one joint (response to pain)
- sometimes a change in behaviour due to the pain associated with the disease.
In cats the most common signs are:
- lack of ability to groom their coat especially around back legs and over the tail base
- reduced activity level. ( Cats may use chairs or stools to get up on the table rather than jumping from the floor)
The disease is more technically called osteoarthritis, meaning inflammation of the joint and cartilage structures. At the end of each of the bones is a layer of cartilage which protects the bone and acts as a cushion. This cushion along with a thick gel like substance called synovial fluid, aids joint mobility. Over time the cartilage is worn abnormally and the amount of joint fluid is reduced, resulting in the bone rubbing against each other during walking and normal movement. This results in an unwillingness to move and hence muscle wastage and ligament laxity occurs, resulting in further damage to the joints.
Prevention- Osteoarthritisis most commonly seen in older animals. It is usually only seen in young animals if they are a large breed dog or have had a previous traumatic injury to the joint, ie cruciate ligament rupture or a fracture can cause early onset of the disease. This is a disease which doesn’t occur suddenly but is caused over a long period of time.
Things to help delay the onset include;
-Balanced nutrition throughout life, especially in the puppy stages,
-Maintaining good weight range (obese dogs are more likely to suffer earlier due to increased weight bearing),
-Good joint health throughout life i.e an active lifestyle.
Treatment; Osteoarthritis is painful and debilitating for both cats and dogs and early intervention is recommended. There are many ways in which you can minimize the effects of the disease and slow down its progression:
ü Weight loss- find out from us what your pet should weigh and engage in a FREE weight loss consult and program if needed
ü Nutrition- there are diets aimed at increasing joint health. We strongly recommend Royal Canin Mobility Support diet as it contains chondroitin (inhibits the activity of the enzymes which break down the cartilage), and glucosamine (helps to stimulate synthesis of glycosaminoglycans to keep joint healthy), antioxidants (protects the body against the harmful radicals).
ü Joint Supplements- Sashas Blend is an all natural marine concentrate which contains active ingredients for joint nourishment and helps reduce the risk of joint injuries.
ü Cartrophen injections. Cartrophen contains pentosan polysulfate sodium which has an anti-inflammatory effect, inhibits enzymes which destroy the cartilage, and stimulates enzymes to protect the cartilage. Requires a weekly injection for 4 weeks then boosters as required.
ü Anti-inflammatory/pain relief.We use Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatories in severe cases to reduce the pain.These maybe used for a short period whilst cartrophen works, or for longer periods depending on each individual animal.
ü Dog coats-We stock the WeatherBeeta rangs of dog coats which help keep dogs cosy at night and reduce stiffness and pain in the mornings.
ü Exercise moderation to prevent excessive wear and tear on joints.
If you think your pet may benefit from any of the above , please make an appointment at either of our clinics or come in and have a chat with our friendly, helpful staff.