What is Osteoarthritis?
You may have noticed some changes in your pet’s behaviour as the winter weather begins to set in. Arthritis is a common health issue, particularly for older pets, that can seriously impact their quality of life.
Osteoarthritis is a painful disease causing inflammation and stiffness of the joint. Just like us, pets have cartilage at the ends of their bones within the joints, helping to cushion the impact between the bones as they move. When osteoarthritis develops, this cartilage begins to erode and weaken which leads to inflammation and pain.
What causes Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences including breed predisposition, exercise, diet and body weight. Previous injuries to the joint and developmental issues such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or luxating patella can also play a role in this disease.
Symptoms of Arthritis
If your pet has developed arthritis, they may display some of the following symptoms:
- Sleeping more often
- Less grooming or a matted coat (particularly cats)
- Slow/painful when getting up or down
- Stiffness or lameness
- Reluctance to jump
- Licking at joints
- Exercise intolerance or slowing down on walks
- Changes in behaviour – perhaps more aggressive or withdrawn
Treatment and management of Osteoarthritis
Unfortunately there is no way that we can prevent the formation of Osteoarthritis completely. However, we can slow the progression and treat the symptoms using a combination of options:
Early diagnosis and intervention through clinical examination and radiographs. Regular senior check ups are a great idea.
Weight management – excess weight increases the forces on our pet’s joints as well as the rate of wear and tear of cartilage. We offer FREE weight loss consults and have a number of specifically designed diets to help reduce your pet’s weight. You can enrol your pet here
Joint diets and supplements such as Hill’s Prescription Joint Diet, 4Cyte, and Epiitalis Forte are great options for joint care. These products have been tried and tested and we have great confidence in their efficacy.
Zydax injections help stimulate cartilage producing cells, slow the damage to cartilage and aid in the production of joint fluid to help lubricate the joint. Zydax is usually administered by a veterinarian as a course of injections, once per week for four weeks. RECEIVE 15% OFF on prepaid courses.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a natural therapy used to relieve pain associated with joint disease and injury, promote healing and reduce recovery time in patients. This therapy is a day procedure that utilises the patient’s own blood to help stimulate healing of inflamed tissues, improving pain relief and function of the joint.
Physical therapy such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture. Our very own Dr. Tracy is a qualified acupuncturist and has seen some remarkable results!
Pain relief can be prescribed by a veterinarian and can be helpful in targeting the pain caused by arthritis.
Memory foam bedding is a great way to help arthritic pets at home. It moulds to their every curve and angle, allowing for less pressure on affected areas.
Keeping warm during the colder months. Osteoarthritis tends to worsen during the winter months. Help by keeping them out of the cold, wind and rain.
Minimise jumping by relocating food, toys and scratching posts of cats, and using ramps to replace stairs and provide easy car access for dogs.