Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Arthritis doesn't discriminate. It affects not only people of all ages but also our furry friends. You can make sure that your companion eats well, gets exercise, takes his heartworm medicine, looks bright-eyed and is active. If he seems to be acting slower and doesn't greet you at the door you may suspect he isn't feeling well or he has the flu when actually it could be arthritis. Arthritis affects one out of 5 dogs in the US and is one of the most common sources of chronic pain that a veterinarian treats.
Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects one or more joints. It can occur in dogs with an inherited orthopedic disease such as hip dysplasia, or from an injury to the joint. Some cases are related to an immune-mediated joint disease or joint infection.
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is common in dogs affecting up to 1 out of 5 dogs in their lifetime. Older dogs and young dogs as well may have to deal with hip dysplasia, ruptured cruciate ligaments, patella luxation, or joint trauma. Dogs and cats also can suffer from arthritis in their neck or back just as we do. Large breed dogs are affected more often than smaller breed dogs. Heavy dogs are more likely to exhibit symptoms due to the extra strain placed on their joints.
Signs that your dog or cat may have arthritis:
- Favoring a limb
- Sleeping more
- Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
- Decreased activity or less interest in play
- Less alert
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Seeming to have stiff or sore joints
- Weight gain
- Attitude or behavior changes
- Holding their head down and not willing to turn their head or look up
If any of these describe your dog's behavior for more than 2 weeks please contact us for an evaluation which will include a physical exam and possibly x-rays. The best thing you can do for your pet is to geta diagnosis and start a treatment plan as soon as possible.
Early treatment can improve the quality of your friend's life. Arthritis is not curable but it can be managed through the use of the following:
- A healthy diet and the proper amount of exercise to maintain a healthy weight
- Working with the veterinarians to find a traditional treatment plan consisting of neutraceuticals, NSAIDS, and chondro protective medicines. There is an increasing list of NSAIDS and combination drug therapies that are safe for your pet.
- Innovative neutraceuticals that include Immunotherapy for your pet. These include Senior I Tabs and P Tabs
- Rehabilitation evaluation and development of treatment plans which include exercise programs, modalities of heat, therapeutic laser, pulse signal therapy
- Autogeneis Stem Cell Therapy and PRP therapy or Platelet Rich Protein therapy. You may have heard of this in reference to professional athletes who receive this therapy after a major injury or surgery.
Never give your dog human medication without checking with us first! Certain medications especially acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be toxic.
We are here to help your furry friend improve his quality of life and to help you gain back your companion. Give us a call so we can discuss the many options we now have available.