How to help your pet if it’s suffering with arthritis
Dr Richard Murphy BSC(HONS) BVSC PGCERTSAS MRCVS, a veterinary surgeon from The Vet, North Harbour, answers some common questions about pet arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis in pets and is often seen in middle-aged and elderly dogs and cats. It’s caused by joints deteriorating and becoming inflamed. The blood vessels get blocked and cartilage and fluid cushioning the joints become damaged, resulting in a painful deteriorating condition.
What to look out for
Pets behaving in a stressed or clingy way, sleeping more and perhaps a change in character. They may develop a limp and be reluctant to exercise. You may also notice them having trouble using the stairs, getting into the car or up on the sofa for cuddles, and some pets may continually lick painful joints which can produce a saliva stain around the area.
Helping your pet at home
You can help by putting rugs over slippery floors and provide soft bedding that your pet can get to without having to jump. Raise your pet’s food and water to lessen the strain on their neck and, whilst exercise is extremely important, bear in mind that when the arthritis advances, exercise may become painful and difficult.
Treatments: Yumove is a supplement we stock at The Vet which wins rave reviews. It contains Glucosamine to help build up joint cartilage, Green-lipped mussels contain chondroitin and omega 3 to soothe stiff joints and maintain healthy cartilage, plus hyaluronic acid which makes up the fluid inside joints.
Carrying excess weight greatly exacerbates arthritis, so check in with our veterinary nurses who run free weight clinics. They will look at your pet’s specific medical conditions and offer advice on exercise, food and prescription diets.
Medication and pain relief
There are plenty of medications for pets with arthritis. Initially, vets start with anti-inflammatory drugs and, if or when necessary, add further medications such as Cartrophen by injection. This has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates cartilage production. Never give pets human pain relief medication though, as it could result in fatality. The last resort is to operate to replace or fuse joints under general anaesthetic, which in older animals poses a risk in itself.
There is no cure for arthritis, but the condition can be managed to provide your pet with a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and pain control is crucial with this condition and early intervention offers a better chance of slowing arthritis down. Make an appointment with The Vet to find out more.
The Vet provides walk-ins Monday-Friday and appointments 7 days a week and specialises in quality care at low prices, including a low-price guarantee and free pet taxi service to its new state-of-the-art 5,000 sq ft, purpose-built clinic. www.thevet.co.uk or call (023) 9421 7644.