It is that time of year again…is your pet starting to suffer from arthritis?
With the cooler weather upon us, we can often forget that our pets feel it too. Have you noticed your pet moving slower? Maybe not quite as active as usual? Taking longer to stand from a lying position? They may be suffering from arthritis.
At this time of year, we commonly see an increase in dogs and cats with arthritis in their joints. Pets are great at hiding pain and illness, so you may not even realise that they suffer from arthritis or other mobility problems.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis basically means inflammation of a joint. It can affect any animal, but certain factors can make some more inclined to develop the disease such as age, breed, obesity, trauma, and developmental problems. Arthritis most commonly affects the hips and knees of dogs, especially in older large-breed dogs.
Typical physical signs of arthritis include:
- Difficulty rising
- Decreased activity levels
- Decreased appetite
- Poor grooming in cats
- Reluctance to run/play/climb stairs/jump in the car
- Changes in behaviour such as aggression or withdrawal, especially when touched
- Visibly swollen joints.
Left unmanaged, arthritis results in severe cartilage destruction, leaving the underlying bone exposed. While there is no cure for arthritis, there is a lot we can do to dramatically improve the quality of your pet’s life.
How can we help your arthritis pet get back on its paws?
Cartrophen Vet Injections
Cartrophen Vet Injections given by your vet can significantly help treat arthritis symptoms. Initially, pet’s receive a course of four injections once a year (usually coming into Winter when arthritis symptoms are at their worst). As arthritis progresses later in life, we may give a Cartrophen booster injection every three months, or even once a month to alleviate symptoms.
The treatment is very well tolerated with 80% of pets responding quickly to the initial course with a reduction in lameness and pain. There are almost no side effects recorded from thousands of doses we have administered.
Joint support supplements
Joint support supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3, MSM and green-lipped muscle) can slow down cartilage destruction, reduce inflammation and restore joint fluid and cartilage health.
Physiotherapy and acupuncture
Animal physiotherapy and acupuncture are therapies that are becoming commonplace in the treatment of degenerative conditions like arthritis, hip dysplasia and cruciate disease.
Animals undergoing physiotherapy may receive various treatments including soft tissue and joint mobilisation, massage, stretching and strengthening exercises. These provide pain relief and restore muscle and joint function. Acupuncture, electrotherapy such as laser, electrical stimulation, and heat treatment may also be used.
Click here for further information on alternative therapies for treating arthritis.
We can arrange hydrotherapy, or exercise on an underwater treadmill. This accelerates muscle growth and restores normal limb function in a low-impact environment.
Our in-clinic physiotherapist, Nicky Suckle, can devise a comprehensive program to meet your pet’s needs, including exercises to perform at home.
Stem cell therapy
Stem Cell Therapy (STC) has been around for years…we have all heard of people needing bone marrow transplants after cancer chemotherapy, and parents keeping their new born babies’ umbilical cord blood, but recent studies in both human and animal medicine has seen this therapy branch-out to treat a whole range of other conditions including heart muscle disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and even brain or spinal cord damage.
We have now provided stem cell therapy to a number of animals with a great deal of success. Click here to see further information about this therapy.
Weight loss, if weight is a problem, will also reduce the workload on their joints. Join our free Weight Loss Clinic to help your pet.
Conventional anti-inflammatories and painkillers are reserved for severe cases where the above treatments have failed to relieve pain and discomfort.
Further information on arthritis
Please contact us if you would like an arthritis check-up for your pet, and we can tailor an individual treatment plan to suit your pet.
If you think your pet may have arthritis, or you would like to learn more about it, check out our further information here.