Joint disease affects pets of all sizes and ages and is caused by a range of environmental and/or genetic/hereditary factors. The good news is that as pet owners, we can be proactive in the treatment and prevention of joint disease in our pets, helping them live a longer & happier lives!
The common causes of osteoarthritis include:
- degeneration of joints from everyday wear and tear
- degeneration caused by trauma, injuries and some diseases
- poor conformation or genetic factors e.g. hip and elbow dysplasia.
Just as in humans, as our pets grow older, so signs of ageing start to creep into their everyday lives. One of the common ailments in older pets is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is defined as inflammation of a joint. In older animals, we classify it as degenerative joint disease or DJD, which is the permanent and progressive deterioration of the joint’s cartilage.
Other factors predisposing an animal to osteoarthritis includes poor diet, especially during the growing years, and being overweight. All these factors affect the amount and distribution of stress on the cartilage as well as the joint’s ability to withstand it.
Regardless of size or age, it important to ensure your pet stays a healthy weight and good body condition. The more extra weight your pet is carrying, the greater the chance of them developing joint disease and osteoarthritis in the long term. If you are concerned that your pet is overweight or obese, discuss a weight loss programme with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
Prevention is always better than cure and in the case of osteoarthritis this includes ensuring your pet eats a good quality scientifically formulated pet food from the start! During a dog or cats growing years this ensures that the joint tissue gets the nutrients it requires to be as healthy as possible.
Treatment may include medication to alleviate the pain and joint supplementation to aid in cartilage health, prevent degeneration and aid regeneration. Mild exercise and physiotherapy aid in maintaining joint mobility, with non weight-bearing exercise such as swimming being the gold standard. Exercise also helps to keep weight down and prevent muscle wasting which is important as muscles aid in joint stabilization too. The use of joint supplements often allows one to be on a lower dose of anti-inflammatory pain killers, which is of advantage to your pet, as all medications have side effects.
Joint care for your pet can start before your pet has even shown signs. Adult dogs with a predisposition for joint conditions can be given supplements to help maintain healthy joints and slow down the degeneration process, while older dogs already suffering from osteoarthritis can be fed a specific joint care diet or a diet supplemented with Glucosamine & MSM known to reduce pain.
Orange Grove Vet is partnering with VetsBrands to highlight joint disease and osteoarthritis in pets. Go to our Facebook page and sign up for a FREE consultation at Orange Grove Vet as well as receiving either Arthro Focus or Arthri Joint FREE!
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