Does your dog appear to slow down in the winter time? He/She could be sore from underlying arthritis that is exacerbated by colder temperatures. There are several options available like laser therapy and anti-inflammatories to help relieve their pain and provide increased mobility and comfort. Click the link below to read more.
Call us today if you are interested in the specific options available for your pet.
Arthritis and Treatment Options
What are the clinical signs of arthritis?
There are a number of symptoms that are attributed to arthritis that may be misinterpreted as signs of simple aging in our pets. Changes in your adult pet’s behavior due to arthritis could be indicated by stiffness that is most commonly present in the morning, difficulty getting up from a restful position, difficulty going up or down stairs, acting more withdrawn from the family, obsessively licking at a single joint, or vocalizing when you touch a sore area.
What can you do to help alleviate your pet’s arthritis?
Unfortunately, once the process of cartilage deterioration occurs in a joint there is very little that can be done to repair the damaged tissue. However, there are a number of things that can be done to alleviate the pain and inflammation that is associated with osteoarthritis. Ultimately, the most effective treatment includes a combination therapy involving a change in lifestyle, joint supplements, and anti-inflammatory medications. A very important and often forgotten feature of this therapy is maintaining an ideal weight for your pet. A pet that has arthritis and is overweight experiences an excess amount of force through their damaged joint. This alone can generate a significant amount of pain and start an inflammatory process in the body. At an ideal weight, pain can be significantly decreased and life expectancy can be increased. A great diet for a pet with arthritis is one that consists of a high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This ingredient decreases inflammation and slows the breakdown of cartilage. Daily exercise that consists of low-impact movements such as swimming is extremely beneficial in alleviating pain due to arthritis.
Additional therapies for arthritis include daily supplements such as glucosamine chondroitin, and fatty acids, as well as, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID). Often with a good diet, supplementation and maintaining an ideal weight, the use of anti-inflammatories may not be indicated. However, in many cases these medications are needed to decrease the clinical signs of arthritis. When NSAIDS are indicated it is also very important to ensure the liver and the kidneys are capable of properly metabolize this medication. This is accomplished by checking your pet’s blood work every six months. An important reminder is that human NSAIDS are not a substitute for treating your pet’s arthritis as this can cause renal failure.
Alternative therapies that aid in alleviating pain
Here at The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt, we offer the advanced non-invasive option of Laser therapy. Laser therapy is a modern and effective approach in alleviating pain associated with arthritis and many other conditions causing pain and inflammation. Laser therapy decreases inflammation and promotes tissue healing by increasing blood circulation. Laser therapy is not sufficient by itself and should always be used in conjunction with a standard treatment plan.
Let’s not forget about our feline friends
Cats are very good about hiding their ailments especially when they are suffering from arthritis. Your cat may have arthritis if they are no longer willing to jump up onto items or when jumping down are not willing to jump directly onto the floor. If your cat suffers from arthritis, you may want to evaluate your cat’s litter box. A litter box that contains elevated sides may make it difficult for your cat to enter and exit the box thus causing them to urinate or defecate outside of their litter box. Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved medications for chronic pain in cats as there are for dogs but there are other options that can be discussed with your veterinarian. Furthermore, the same principles of prevention and maintenance apply to cats with respect to maintaining an ideal body weight, and changing their diet to include essential fatty acids and glucosamine chondroitin to decrease pain associated with the presence of arthritis.