At this point, I know that every lovely person reading my blog knows that I am highly particular about animals, especially household pets, these pets are human's best friends (I guess, only a pet lover would properly understand what that means), and every human will feel down when their pet is ill, in worst case scenarios, the bacteria affecting the pet could even affect the pet owner and other members of the family. This is a reason why I love to write about the illness in pets and animals in general, so in today's episode of the various illnesses that can be found in pets, we will be discussing the topic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis can affect dogs, cats as well as other pets of all breeds and sizes, they are also called; degenerative joint disease, or arthritis.
Just like in humans, arthritis can be really painful for pets also, and even reduces the quality of life of the pet.
Canine arthritis is a common disease amongst older dogs, when you notice that your pet has started to experience difficulty with getting up, or walking down the stairs, your dog may be suffering from arthritis. The disease would affect the hips, back, the legs affecting other parts of the body, making daily movement really difficult.
Arthritis is a joint inflammation common amongst dogs, leading to discomfort, pain, and stiffness in dogs. Dogs that have arthritis, cause changes or damage within the joint, making it less smooth and causing the bones in the joint region to rub together, the rubbing could get really uncomfortable and painful to the cartilage. With increased friction, new bones get formed around the joint making it looks more stiff and difficult movement. Even if arthritis is common amongst older dogs, it can happen to dogs of any age and can affect either one joint or several joints.
While the most obvious sign of arthritis in a pet is limping, there are however other signs that would help you know your pet is uncomfortable. Cats experiencing arthritis usually show different symptoms different from dogs because they are normally not as active as dogs, they may start to defecate and urinate out of the litter box since it is extremely painful for them to jump into it, and you may also experience excessive cat grooming in one region of the cat's body, indicating focal arthritis pain.
Other signs of arthritis in dogs are;
- Personality change.
- Inability to play, jump, or climb stairs.
- Licking of affected areas.
- Stiffness while walking.
- Yelping once slightly touched.
There is no single cause of arthritis, but there are contributing factors to the cause;
- The body build of your pet.
- The weight of your pet.
- Nutritional history.
- Previous activity history.
- Unusual joint development.
- Previous injury.
Diagnosing arthritis is a straightforward process performed by taking x-rays or observing changes in cartilage during surgery.X-ray is also an excellent tool to help observe the progression of arthritis.
Managing arthritis in pets.
The good thing about the attack of arthritis on pets is that there are so many ways to restrict its development as well as treat it, even if it cannot be cured. The best way to prevent arthritis from happening to your cat and your dog is to keep them healthy, this will reduce the amount of stress placed on the body by the joint, and it would also help to ensure that things continue to move appropriately in the pet's body as it should.
The first thing is to ensure weight management in your pet, this is the most significant way to manage arthritis, as overweight animals will often place more weight on their joints leading to more localized inflammation and irritation to the joints which could in turn lead to the progression of arthritis.
The other thing to bear in mind is going through an adequate exercise procedure, controlled exercises like walking on a leash and swimming would help to keep the joints mobile and muscles working properly. Uncontrolled exercise can also place unnecessary pressure on the ligaments and lead to permanent damage to the joint.
Placing your pets in comfortable positions would help reduce the level of discomfort and pain, always make sure that your pet stays in a warm and comfortable place to sleep.
Providing your pets with an omega-3-rich fatty acid would help block the inflammation around the joint causing the pain. There is also an enzyme activity suppression that causes cartilage damage, therefore slowing arthritis progression.
There are as well, different veterinary treatment options to manage osteoarthritis in pets, the most important thing is for every arthritis condition to be diagnosed and treated accordingly, with various treatment options like;
Medication, which in most cases contains chondroitin or glucosamine which happens to be the building blocks of cartilage. The supply of inflamed joints with the building blocks gives room for the constant production of healthy joint cartilage which would, in turn, provide assistance to the joints to reduce inflammation and pain as well.
Nutraceuticals, are when a nutritional supplement contains medicinal effects, there are several products in the market, and you just need to speak to your vet about them.
Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage lining of the joint wears down leading to swelling, pain,and inflammation. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are prevention and treatments for the condition, it is important to notice changed signs in your pet and report to your vet as soon as possible.