Pets with arthritis often hide their pain. You may notice that your dogs are becoming a little stiff when they get up or that your cat no longer wants to jump. Maybe your pet is just sleeping more. Animals often hide their discomfort and may already be in considerable pain once they start to show us signs of arthritis. The pain is often worse with cold or wet weather.
Arthritis causes a reduced production of cartilage and synovial (joint) fluid and an increase in cartilage degradation in the joint. This effectively means a decrease in cushioning between the joints resulting in bone rubbing together, resulting in pain and localized inflammation. This causes a low grade constant pain, swelling and reduced function of the joint.
Osteoarthritis can be an incredibly painful and debilitating disease. There is no cure for arthritis however there are ways in which we can manage the disease to help maintain your pet's quality of life. There are four key ways in which we can approach treatment:
Regular gentle exercise can aid in maintaining mobility, weight and general health. Maintaining your pet at a healthy weight will relieve pressure on the joints. Cold weather can also reduce blood flow to the limbs, so keep your pet warm at night with bedding, coat or a heating pad. Jumping on and off a bed or out of a car can irritate joints, so provide a little step or ramp to help out.
Maintain healthy joints
There are two naturally occurring products proven to assist in treating the causes of osteoarthritis - glucosamine and chondroitin. These products are combined in a powder, capsule or treat form. There is no control of the quality of these products on the market as they are not classed as drugs and not all products are registered to ensure consistency of product. Feel free to come in and discuss our recommendations.
Modify the disease progression
Pentosan polysulphate(more commonly known as cartrophen) is given by injection and has been shown to assist the treatment of arthritis and slow the progression of the disease by increasing blood supply to the joints and promoting healing. It is given once a week over a 4 week period and the benefits last for up to 6 months.
Control the pain & inflammation
If all of the above treatments don't work then we control the pain of arthritis by long term use of anti- inflammatories.
We are also now able to offer acupuncture as a safe and effective alternative to drugs to help with the pain of arthritis. Acupuncture involves inserting needles into specific points in the body for therapeutic purposes and to relieve pain. Chronic diseases such as arthritis often need several treatments before improvement is noticed, however some animals get immediate relief. Also about 20% of animals will not improve with acupuncture. (see our fact sheet on our website)