Arthritis, in particular ‘degenerative joint disease’ is a common debilitating disease of our older pets. The joints most commonly affected are the elbow, hips and stifles. It is a disease that usually cannot be cured but can be effectively managed in most cases.

Weight management:

Excess weight increases the load that has to be carried by joints which in turn leads to more rapid degeneration of the affected joints and symptoms become more severe. Ideal body condition for a pet with arthritis would be leaner than what would generally be considered normal.

Nutritional supplementation:

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects when given at the correct doses.

Cartilage protecting agents such as glucosamine and chondroitin slow down the rate of cartilage degradation and promote cartilage matrix synthesis.

Exercise and physical rehabilitation:

It is important to keep your pet as mobile as possible but the amount of exercise needed will vary from one pet to another depending on the severity of disease present. Swimming and physio on an underwater treadmill are good options for pets that have low mobility or when recovering from joint surgery. Refer to “The importance of regular exercise” article.

Medical treatment:

Anti-inflammatory medication is very useful in alleviating pain and associated inflammation in arthritis. They have a small potential for adverse effects including gut irritation and can affect liver & kidney health. We will usually monitor your pet with regular health checks & blood tests.

Pentosan polysulfate (cartrophen) increases the production & viscosity of the joint fluid and provides protection against cartilage damage and can therefore be an important part long term treatment for arthritis.

If you suspect your pet may be sore and suffering from arthritis make an appointment to see us and we can ensure that your pet is made as comfortable as possible and able to enjoy their normal daily activities.