What is it?
Arthritis simply means inflammation of the joint. This is a common finding in older animals but, can also happen in younger animals. Just like in humans it can cause pain and discomfort in the joints and make them slow when moving. Unfortunately this disease is not curable however, it can be very well managed to give your pets the best quality of life.
How is it diagnosed?
Arthritis is a general finding in older animals which can be diagnosed by a veterinarian. The majority the time it can be diagnosed from a complete medical history and a general exam. However x-rays can also be taken to confirm the diagnosis and check for any other problems that may be causing the same signs.
There are a variety of treatments available for arthritis however best results can be achieved by combining a combination of treatments.
- NSAID's (Non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drugs)
- Joint supplements
- Physical therapy
- Weight loss
- Life style changes
NSAID's are very effective at treating arthritis. They are a pain relief and also help to reduce the inflammation. They however a prescription medication and must be prescribed by a veterinarian. Also they can cause some side effects.
Joint Supplements are also very effective at treating arthritis. They help support and strengthen the joint. They carry very few side effects and can be brought over the counter. There are a variety of different brands available which contain different ingredients.
Physical Therapy can be performed by a qualified physiotherapist, veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. An exercise regime will be created which will be unique to each case. Some techniques to try at home can include: passive limb movement and heat therapy.
Weight Loss as an animal becomes older and the effects of arthritis sets in they become slower and have less exercise. Because of this they can also start to gain more weight (if not over weight already). Being over weight pits more pressure on the joints and makes the arthritis worse. Weight loss is an easy and cost effect way to help ageing pets. Book an appointment with our nutrition nurse to work out the best weight loss plan for your pets.
Surgery in some cases surgery can help to reduce the effects of arthritis however, this can carry some risks and is only effective in some cases.
Life Style Changes Making a few life style changes can make a big difference to your pets comfort. Orthopaedic bedding can work wonders. It is extra padded to prevent their joints getting as sore from laying down. It also traps the body heat and warms up which, can help relax the joints (like having a soak in a hot bath). Heat therapy involves placing a warm heat pad on the joints to help sooth them and reduce the inflammation (never put the heat pad directly on to skin always wrap in a towel and be careful not to make it to hot to avoid scalding or biting the skin). When on walks go at your dogs pace and don't over walk them. They like to hide the discomfort and pain and so try to push on as much as they can.
For best results we recommend booking an appointment with one of our vets to work out the best treatment plan possible. Arthritis is not curable however, it can be very well treated.
Fill out these quick, easy checklist to see if your companion is showing signs of arthritis. It can be easy to miss: