Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis also known as Arthritis)
So many of our pets suffer from arthritis and unfortunately this is not only a disease of older animals. Arthritis is a disease describing inflammation in the bones and cartilage of joints generally from wear and tear over time – sometimes growth abnormalities in certain breeds of dog will cause arthritis at a much younger age.
Sometimes signs of arthritis can be very subtle and sometimes they can be more severe -if you have observed any of the below signs your pet may be suffering from arthritis:
- Stiffness in the morning – hard to get up and get moving
- Quiet or ‘depressed’
- Difficulty jumping onto beds/lounges or going up and down stairs
- Eating slowly as difficult to maintain position comfortable
- Not as excited to greet you when you come home
- Reduced exercise tolerance i.e. slower on walks or can’t walk as far
- Growl when touched in certain areas
- ‘Ungroomed’ appearance to coat as can no longer reach certain areas
- Limping on a certain or multiple legs
Examination of your pet and talking to you about their behaviour at home make us suspicious of whether or not your pet is suffering from arthritis – however it is radiographs that will confirm the changes to the affected joints.
Treatment options vary and depend on the severity of the pain your pet is experiencing. There are injections we can give to help with arthritis, as well as oral pain relief tablets (variety), joint supplements and diets we can recommend.
Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis and no matter what we will do it will worsen with time however we can manage pain and delay the progression of arthritis with the above options.
Diet is a very important consideration as weight loss (if appropriate) will always only help by reducing the pressure on their joints. Controlled or restricted exercise is also another important aspect that you can manage at home.
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