Arthritis And Your Pet
Coast Animal Health is offering $35.00 Arthritis Health Checks for May.
Let us help keep your pet, active,youthful and comfortable this winter with our arthritis health check ups.
Our pets are more likely to suffer from arthritis during the colder weather so, now is a great time for an arthritis check with your pet’s vet. Most of the signs of arthritis are subtle and will sneak up on your pet over many years. You may not even realise that your pet is in pain.
Arthritis is caused by the wearing down of the smooth cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. Usually this cartilage helps joints move freely but as time goes by, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together.
80% of dogs have signs of arthritis by the age of Eight, but inly a small number of these pets receive treatments. Younger dogs and cats can also suffer from arthritic changes.
Dogs are very good at hiding pain. It is a matter of survival, as in the wild, a weak or sick animal is easy prey. Add to this your dog’s desire to please you all the time and it is not uncommon for pain to go unnoticed.
Your dog may be trying to tell you he/she has arthritic pain and you need learn to look out for some of the warning signs:
- Difficulty jumping in to the car, up on the furniture or climbing stairs
- Will be stiff and sore – especially in the morning or after lying down
- Difficulty getting up or lying down; you may notice your dog slowly lower him/herself down
- Reluctance to walk, play or chase the ball
- Sleeping or resting more
- Less excitement when greeting you
- Muscle loss over spine, hind legs and shoulders
- May show behaviour changes such as being grumpy when touched on the back
Because cats are relatively small and very agile they are even better than dogs at hiding or covering up mobility difficulties caused by arthritis. We generally don’t take cats for a walk around the block so it is hard to see a limp or change in gait. Pain commonly goes unnoticed in our feline friends so watch out for these subtle signs:
- Your cat may hesitate when jumping up or down from your lap or from the furniture
- He/she may not land very gracefully when jumping down
- Will be reluctant to climb the fence or climb trees
- Will be unwilling to move freely in and out of the cat flap
- She may no longer use the litter box, especially if it has high sides
- She may be less tolerant around people and be reluctant to be picked up or moved
- Hissing, scratching or even biting when touched
- More withdrawn and less likely to interact with you or other pets she usually tolerates
- Matted or scruffy coat; she may be too sore to turn around and groom him/ herself comfortably
- Your cat’s nails may not wear down as quickly as they once did simply because he/she is less active
If your pet is showing any of the above signs and you’re concerned, phone 0243928822 to arrange an arthritis health check for your pet.
The good news is that there is plenty we can do to slow the progression of the disease and make sure your pet is pain free.
If your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis we will work with you to come up with a suitable management plan. A well-rounded approach will help your pet get the most out of life. Many people are surprised by the changes in their dog or cats personality after we start a treatment plan.
Some of the treatments might include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Help to reduce pain and inflammation quickly. Can be given short term but may be needed for the rest of your pet’s life.
Note: It is critically important that you do not give human arthritis medications to your dog or cat.
Given as a regular injection, these help to relieve pain and help to preserve joint cartilage.
Supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin and omega oils may be helpful in improving your pet’s joint function and may help slow down the progression of arthritis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LAHfuP32uA
A diet specifically designed for senior pets may help reduce inflammation and improve your pet’s mobility. Ask us about the Royal Canin Mobility diet that we have available.
To help your senior pet live a comfortable life we recommend a balanced and multi-targeted approach. This can help reduce the need for large amounts of medication and lessen the potential side effects of any one treatment.
A few small changes at home can help improve your pet’s comfort this may include:
- Keeping your pet’s weight in a healthy range to reduce the load on the joints – If your pet is overweight, we also run weight loss clinics.
- Provide a dry and comfortable bed, away from draughts and with plenty of padding – heated beds are a good idea for winter
- Use a portable ramp to help your dog in and out of the car
- Provide an additional piece of furniture so your cat doesn’t have to jump so high to reach his/her favourite sunny spot
- Continue to exercise your pet in moderation; gentle daily walks for dogs help keep the joints moving and muscles toned