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Arthritis is currently the most common health problem in dogs, affecting 35% of older dogs and about 30% of cats. Yet only a fraction of these animals have their disease well managed, sadly meaning many of our pets are putting up with pain.
Arthritis is the term commonly used to describe degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Simply put it means "inflamed joints".
Read more about arthritis.
From mild behavioural changes to a complete inability to walk, the symptoms of arthritis vary enormously and sometimes quite surprisingly. The most commonly noticed sign is a stiffness after rest or a reluctance to do normal activity.
Read more on the symptoms of arthritis.
A degree of suspicion can be reached following a thorough physical examination and from the symptoms described by the owner. (This is called a presumptive diagnosis).
If we want to maximise our chances of being safe and effective in formulating a treatment plan then we need to know more.
An X-ray is required to rule out other causes of joint pain, to determine the type, stage or severity of the disease, and to ascertain if there is an underlying cause that can be treated.
Coming Soon - x-ray of an arthritic joint.
At times a "joint tap" may be done to take a sample of the joint fluid for analysis.
As many osteoarthritis patients are geriatric and potentially have multiple concurrent diseases, blood screening is also indicated so that the entire picture can be taken into account.
Coming Soon - Geriatric Wellness Screen Information.
So what can you do to help your beloved pet feel better? Is there a way to stop it from getting worse? Luckiliy there is good with the improvement of arthritis diagnosis and treatment, there are more and safer options than there used to be.
Surgery may be used to correct underlying causes, palliate severly affected joints or even total joint replacements Click here for more on surgery and arthritis.
Often a many pronged approach to the treatment of arthritis is required.
Overweight pets must be placed on a weight reduction diet. Click here for more on weight loss and arthritis.
If pain relief with NSAID therapy is inadequate, a range of other medications may be prescribed to manage pain. Knowing how complex and robust chronic pain is, we often need to adopt multimodal drug therapy for osteoarthritis.
Gentle exercise - Controlled exercise maintains the health of muscles and ligaments while decreasing joint inflammation. Click here for more information on exercise and arthritis.
We have found Zydax to be a treatment of choice in our practice for most cases of arthritis. Click here for more information on Zydax and arthritis.
Nutraceuticals are foods or supplements that provide health and medical benefits. Click Here for more information on Nutraceuticals and arthritis.
Although it may seem a bit unusual, acupuncture causes the body to release its own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory molecules. It also relaxes the muscles, helping your pet feel more at ease. This therapy is easy to use in cats and dogs. Click here for more information on acupuncture and arthritis.
Arthritis can be debilitating for your pet but some simple changes in living arrangements can make a big difference to your pet's quality of life.
Click here for some ideas to make things easier for arthritic pets.
At Pets and Their People, we are striving for a "Pain Free" practice. We would be delighted to help you maximise your pets quality of life while living with arthritis. Please call your preferred clinic to make an appointment.
All Surgeries are closed on public holidays.