Osteoarthritis in Pets
Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative joint disease that worsens over time. It is a disease that mostly affects senior pets but can sometimes be present in younger dogs as well. During colder months the clinical signs of this diseases is more severe. Currently we are experiencing cold fronts, and as pet owners we will be more aware of the signs.
Clinical signs of Osteoarthritis:
- Reluctance to move
- Walk with a limp
- Resist certain activities they used to enjoy, like going for a walk
- Struggle to get up in the morning
- Yelp when a certain joint is touched
- Show a change in behavior.
Managing this disease is multifactorial. Your veterinarian will do a full clinical examination. Based on their examination they will start a pain control regime and discuss various treatment options based on the joints affected and severity of the arthritis. Never give a pet any human medication, only what your veterinarian prescribes and advices.
Management at home:
Maintaining a normal body weight is of utmost importance. Lean body weight reduces the amount of pressure that is placed on the joints by the dogs own body weight. Research has shown that joint supplements greatly reduce the inflammation in the joints and will reduce the requirement of medication administered. Ultradog’s Joint Mobility diet contains Chondroitin, Glucosamine and Green Lipped Mussel Extract. The joint supplements mechanism of action is:
- Glucosamine is effective in reducing pain and joint inflammation
- Chondroitin has synergistic effect with Glucosamine. Chondroitin aids in cartilage repair.
- Green lipped mussel extract (GLM) contains high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that helps to reduce joint inflammation. There is evidence that GLM reinforces the activity of some anti-inflammatories but also markedly reduces gastric ulceration associated with their use.
Your vet will discuss various options with you to control pain and to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. At home you can do the following changes to your pets environment:
- Lay out area rugs or carpet runners, at least in the areas where your dog walks most.
- Add non-slip stair treads to your hardwood staircases
- Apply a set of toe grips to your dog’s toe nails.
- If your dog is having difficulty jumping into/out of your car get them a ramp.
- If your dog is having trouble getting on and off your bed or the couch, then get a set of pet stairs or ramp.
- Provide a padded or orthopaedic bed for your dog to sleep in.
Chat to your veterinarian about alternative and additional therapies. Great success has been achieved by controlling pain with Acupuncture. Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy helps to strengthen the muscles around the affected joints. Work with your veterinarian to fine tune your pets’ treatment options. With the right approach your pet can still lead a long happy life.