What to do about my pet’s arthri­tis?

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - News - Mea­gan Lee BVSc (Hons), vet­eri­nar­ian

EX­ACTLY what is Os­teoarthri­tis?

Os­teoarthri­tis is a chronic de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease that may af­fect any joint but is com­monly found in a pet’s hip, el­bow, shoul­der, sti­fle (knee), car­pus (wrist), hock (an­kle) or in­ter­ver­te­bral joints (in the spine).

It oc­curs when car­ti­lage in the joint is dam­aged, ei­ther fol­low­ing a trau­matic event or with wear and tear that in­creases in ath­letic an­i­mals, obese an­i­mals, or when the joint is con­gen­i­tally abnormal.

Car­ti­lage de­creases joint stress by re­duc­ing im­pact on the ends of the bones in joints, like a gelati­nous shock ab­sorber.

When car­ti­lage is dam­aged, a cas­cade of in­flam­ma­tory changes oc­curs, even­tu­ally lead­ing to de­struc­tion of the car­ti­lage and sub­se­quent dam­age to the un­der­ly­ing bone.

Car­ti­lage con­tains no nerves – if your pet is show­ing any signs of pain, the dam­age and changes in un­der­ly­ing bone have al­ready be­gun. Signs of arthri­tis in­clude: usual length once the pet has ‘warmed up’) • Dif­fi­culty climb­ing stairs, climb­ing in the car, on the bed or a sofa

• Dif­fi­culty ris­ing from rest

• Limp­ing Abnormal gait

• Lick­ing of a sin­gle joint

• Act­ing with­drawn, spend­ing less time play­ing with fam­ily (which is of­ten mis­un­der­stood as a sign of ‘ag­ing’)

• Sore­ness when touched

• Rarely, ag­gres­sion when touched or ap­proached

Ex­actly what can I do?

Weight Re­duc­tion: If your pet is over­weight, this can make signs of os­teoarthri­tis worse. Please speak to your vet about the best ways to re­duce your pets’ weight.

Con­trolled Ex­er­cise: Low­im­pact ex­er­cise is best; swim­ming or walk­ing through shal­low wa­ter is ideal. Leash walk­ing and con­trolled jog­ging are also ac­cept­able.

Arthri­tis in­jec­tions: This is the first line of med­i­cal ther­apy and has very few side-ef­fects with great re­sults. A course of 4 Zy­dax in­jec­tions are given every week for 4 weeks and this is re­peated every 6 months or as needed.

Nu­traceu­ti­cals: Syn­er­gis­tic com­bi­na­tions of nu­traceu­ti­cals such as glu­cosamine/ chon­droitin/sul­fate/green lipped mus­cle con­tain com­pounds that sup­port car­ti­lage struc­ture, pre­vent fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, sup­press in­flam­ma­tion, and re­duce free rad­i­cal dam­age. There are sev­eral rep­utable brands of neu­traceu­ti­cals avail­able at your lo­cal vet and pet food sup­plier.

Pre­scrip­tion Di­ets: These are spe­cially for­mu­lated di­ets that ease pain, slow the pro­gres­sion of arthri­tis, and of­ten en­able the re­duc­tion of anti-in­flam­ma­tory drugs. It is also calo­rie con­trolled to pre­vent weight gain.

Pre­scrip­tion Drugs: are avail­able that can re­duce in­flam­ma­tion and sup­press pain in dogs with more ad­vanced min­imised by mon­i­tor­ing your dog’s blood work and this is rec­om­mended to be car­ried out every 6-12 months. Please con­tact your lo­cal vet if you think your pet is in need of pre­scrip­tion drugs to aid treat­ment for os­teoarthri­tis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.