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Is Your Pet Suffering From Arthritis Or At Risk of Developing Arthritis

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis, which is more correctly termed osteoarthritis, is a degenerative disease affecting joints. It occurs when the cartilage within the joint is worn away and the fluid, which is supposed to lubricate the joint, becomes thin and watery. This leads to increased friction during movement and the thin brittle cartilage begins to fragment resulting in inflammation within and around the joint and ultimately pain and reduced movement.

Arthritis is extremely common and affects as much as 1 in 5 dogs and also occurs frequently in older cats. When left untreated it can become severely painful and debilitating and may reduce your pet’s quality of life.

The initial onset of arthritis may occur due to trauma or in many cases without any known injury. The disease normally develops slowly with the first signs often occurring in middle age to older pets and in a particular medium to large breed dogs. However, dogs and cats of any age and size can develop arthritis and once arthritis begins it can progressively get worse if left untreated.

 

How do I know if my pet is suffering from Arthritis?

Unlike when a guy suffers from a bad case of “Man Flu”, your pet may not make it a blatantly obvious to you that they are suffering. The signs are usually more subtle and can include one or more of the following:

  • Stiff or sore joints (especially in the morning or after long sleeps and is often worse in winter)
  • Difficulty sitting or standing
  • Reluctance to jump into a car or climb stairs
  • Favoring a limb or limping
  • Not keeping up on walks
  • Reduced activity or less interest in play
  • Frequently licking joints
  • Weight gain
  • Attitude or behavioral changes

If your dog or cat is showing any of these signs for an extended period of time it is worth taking a trip to your local Vet to confirm a diagnosis of arthritis and rule out any other nasty causes of these symptoms. The sooner you get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan the better the outcome will be.

 

What can I do about it?

The great news is that there are plenty of ways to prevent the development and progression of arthritis in dogs and cats and the even better news is that treatment can make a big difference in your pet’s quality of life.

The following is a list of actions to take to fight against arthritis. They are listed in order of severity. From ways to maintain good joint health and prevent or slow the onset of arthritis, up to treating mild and moderate arthritis, through to treating severe debilitating arthritis.

 

Prevention and Early Care

Maintain optimal body weight.

Excessive weight can hasten the onset of arthritis and exacerbate its progress and severity. In all cases of arthritis if your pet is overweight then this needs to be addressed first by use of exercise in conjunction with reduced feed and or use of specially formulated low energy diets.  See premium formulated weight-loss food

Provide nutrients in the diet that are required for optimal Joint Health

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are the building blocks of cartilage and are essential nutrients for the cartilage and joint fluid maintenance. These nutrients can be provided to your pet through a treat (e.g Joint Guard Liver Treats or PAW Osteocare Chews), a dietary supplement (eg. Joint Guard Powder), or as part of a specially formulated diet (e.g. Hills J/D food). Adding Glucosamine and Chondroitin to your pet’s diet can help in preventing the onset of arthritis in susceptible animals and slow the progression in the early stages.

Joint Guard Liver Treats - 250g PAW Osteocare Chews Joint Guard Powder for Dogs and Cats - 150g

Advanced Care and Arthritis Management

Provide nutrients in the diet that reduce inflammation and pain

Green-lipped muscle contains Omega 3 Fatty acids, Glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants which can help to reduce inflammation and pain and can provide fast effective relief from arthritic symptoms in your pet (eg. PAW Osteosupport). Not all pets will respond to Green-lipped muscle the same but for many, the outcome can be dramatic.

PAW Osteosupport for Dogs

Another good idea for pets suffering from more advanced signs of arthritis is to combine a Green-lipped muscle supplement with a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin. This will provide your pet with a complete complement of nutrients to aid cartilage and joint fluid maintenance as well as reduce pain and inflammation. Some commercial supplements contain all of these nutrients in one product and maybe the most convenient way to get them into your pet’s diet (e.g Glyde oral powder for dogs or Pernaease powder).

Pernaease Powder   Glyde Oral Powder for Dogs - 360gm

Discuss Pentosan Injections with your Vet

For dogs suffering from symptoms of arthritis and moderate pain consider talking to your local Vet about getting a series of Pentosan injections (usually 4 initial treatments at weekly intervals). Pentosan is a disease-modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) which when given can result in reduced pain and inflammation and improved joint health and function. Not all dogs will show the same level of improvement with this kind of treatment but many dogs have a dramatic reduction in clinical signs following treatment. So it may be worth a try if other nutrient supplements alone have not been enough for your dog.

Discuss the use of NSAID’s with your Vet.

For advanced arthritis with severe pain, you will want to discuss with your Vet the suitability for using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) to control pain and inflammation in your pet. NSAID’s provide a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relief effect. However, long term use can have negative side effects and may be contraindicated in some circumstances. So always follow your Vet’s advice. Your local Vet will always be in the best position to be able to advise on the most suitable treatment plan for your pet, which in certain circumstances could also include surgical intervention.

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