Chances are if you are reading this article you have at least one pet who has arthritis. if pet arthritis is allowed to continue to worsen your once active cat or dog will become a mere shell of themselves opening the door for all types of diseases and conditions such as bacterial infections, cardiovascular disease due to inactivity, and run of the mill conditions such as the common cold. in fact, a recent study found inactive dogs to be three times more likely to become sick than those of the same age that were able to stay active. Additionally, inactivity fosters urinary tract stones which can be fatal if total urinary blockage occurs.
The key factor in most types of arthritis is the disappearance of joint fluid. this fluid prevents connecting bones from rubbing together. once the joint fluid level starts to decline friction occurs eventually ending in bone rubbing against bone causing joint destruction, inflammation, and a great deal of nagging pain.
While arthritis varies from pet to pet joints which have been injured or put under undue stress tend to be the first to go. For example a dog with hip dysplasia would be likely to develop arthritis at a younger age because of the undue strain. another example would be size since large dogs are particularly arthritis prone. and still another example would be obesity.
10 Indications of Arthritis in Pets
Difficulty jumping; Loss of interest in physical activity; not quite making it to the litter box in time; Incontinence of unknown origin; a limp; Hesitating or flat-out refusing to climb stairs; Joints that are warm to the touch; Swollen joints; Difficulty walking; Increased irritability or aggression when touched.
What can Be Done?
There are a number of ways to attack this problem with perhaps the most common being to simply mask the pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. this is often the go to treatment for veterinarians. these drugs block the production of prostaglandins – which trigger inflammation – in order to control the pain. There are other drugs as well designed for pain management including carprofen or etodolac.
But while pain relievers may seem like a good idea they can make matters worse and accelerated joint destruction as activity levels pick up.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin
These two compounds have been shown to help prevent joint damage and encourage joint repair in both pets and their pet parents. Supplements containing these two compounds tend to work the best when used early on. that said, I have had good results giving my older arthritic animals these types of supplements when taken over a multi-month month period.
Many more natural health minded veterinarians will use these types of natural arthritis remedies in conjunction with NSAIDs gradually tapering off the use of pain killers as joint health improves.
What else might help with Pet Arthritis
Swimming. Fluffy may not love the snorkel and goggles you bought her for her 16 birthday in preparation for the bathtub exercise sessions. on the other hand some dogs really like to swim and it can be of great benefit because swimming is a low-impact therapeutic sport.
Weight loss. Old animals with arthritis tend to be less active which can result in weight gain. this excess weight puts more stress on your pets already inflamed joints and does nothing but matters worse. a good rule of thumb here is to work with your veterinarian to develop a weight loss plan that allows your pet to gradually lose those excess pounds.