Arthritis - is your pet getting a bit stiff?

Arthritis, inflammation of one or more joints, can affect a dog at any age. More commonly it is found in older animals, especially where there is a history of injury or previous joint problems( for example, hip or elbow dysplasia). It can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition, often leading to a less active lifestyle. There are many factors contributing to arthritis, its severity and its progression. As an owner, you can help your dog by following these guidelines:

WEIGHT CONTROL The heavier your dog is, the more wear and tear there is on each joint. We offer free weight checks at the surgery. A reduction in daily food intake and/or special prescription diet may be required to achieve your dog’s optimum weight.

CONTROLLED EXERCISE REGIME Some exercise is of obvious benefit, but too much can lead to an increased level of discomfort. Restricted , often lead exercise, may be required. Swimming can be a valuable method of improving joint strength and mobility. Speak to your veterinary surgeon or nurse for advice on how best to exercise your dog.

MEDICATION & OTHER TREATMENTS Anti-inflammatory pain relief There are a number of different types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs available. They come in tablet or liquid form. The newer drugs we now have available are very effective at relieving pain, increasing mobility and improving quality of life. These can be used at variable dose-levels, which can be adjusted depending on the severity of the condition. For long term medication we recommend blood tests to check liver and kidney function. Any of these drugs can cause gastrointestinal problems but these are uncommon.

Disease modifying agents Beneficial drugs acting on cartilage itself. One, known as Cartrophen is a polymer that binds to damaged cartilage and stimulates cartilage repair, it can be used either alone or in combination with glucosamine. A course of four, once weekly injections is recommended.

Nutritional Supplements – Glucosamine : helps to optimise repair of the joint cartilage, by stimulating joint cartilage regeneration, decreasing pain, increasing mobility and improving quality of life. All dogs of all ages can benefit either from treatment and /or prevention. – Other supplements to compliment arthritis control include fish oils rich in omega three fatty acids, green lipped muscle extracts, and chondroitin.

Complementary Therapies – Acupuncture – A course of weekly treatment is very helpful in many long standing cases. Partner, Chris Monk has been studying and using this technique with considerable success. – Homoeopathy – A safe, effective way of helping osteoarthritis. A full history of your pet is required before prescribing these remedies. Partner, Margot Humter is the vet to see for this.

More information is available at:

Osteoarthritis website

Hill’s weight reduction diets