Dogs- Illness and Diseases- Arthritis
|Cruciate Ligament Rupture|
|Senior Pet Care
Dog Care- Arthritis
Arthritis is a devastating disease that can cripple an animal and shave years of its life. There are many kinds of arthritis but the most common is degenerative joint disease (DJD).
Arthritis basically means inflammation of the joint
Left unmanaged arthritis results in severe cartilage destruction, leaving the underlying bones exposed. Bone on bone grinding causes chronic pain which leads to decreased exercise and results in weight gain and muscle weakness. Putting more stress on the affected joints thus worsening the cycle of pain.
Arthritis affects up to one in five adult dogs, yet some pet owners fail to recognise the condition. Owners often put their dog’s limping or slowing down to old age. Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in adult dogs and can greatly diminish your pet’s quality of life.
A normal hip joint
- Difficulty rising
- Decreased activity level
- Reluctance to run. Play or climb stairs.
- Also behavioural changes can be seen, such as aggression or withdrawal.
Arthritis can affect any dog at any age, but certain factors can make dogs more inclined to develop this disease:
Age Arthritis is mostly seen in dogs over seven years of age.
Breed or conformation Large breed dogs and conformation of the joint can make dogs more susceptible to arthritis
Obesity Excess weight means excess stress on the joints, which can lead to arthritis
Nutrition Essential nutrients and fatty acids are vital to healthy joints.
Trauma Physical damage to the joint can result in arthritis.
Developmental problems Some breeds are prone to developing elbow, hip and shoulder dysplasia which can result in arthritis.
While there is no cure for arthritis there is a lot we can do to dramatically improve the quality of your pet’s life.
Weight loss Possibly the most important part of the treatment.
Exercise It is essential that your pet exercises to burn off extra weight but also to build up muscle which stabilises the joints. Avoid overdoing it – rather small walks often. Limit play that jars the joints and try to exercise on soft ground.
Swimming Possibly the best form of exercise for your dog. Preferably with the legs off the ground and paddling.
Nutrition There are prescription diets available especially for arthritis.
Supplements We recommend joint supplements as they have no significant side effects and can help pets from going on to painkillers. We only advise products specifically made for animals.
Carthrophen This is a unique drug that slows down cartilage destruction lubricates the joints and improves their blood supply thus reducing pain. Side effects are rare. Carthrophen is given as a course of injections.
Anti-inflammatories These are very effective at breaking the “pain cycle”. They are usually only given as a short course but with advancement in medication the newer products available can be given regularly for years and also in conjunction with Carthropen if necessary.
Cortisone Just like in human medicine we can give long acting injections into the affected joint in severe cases. However this is rarely used due to the side effects.