Arthritis and Your Pet

Is your pet showing signs of slowing down? Does your dog take longer to become active in the mornings, requiring stretching and extra time to rise than before? Does your cat seem grumpy or uncomfortable when you pet her in certain areas? These may all be signs of arthritis, or degenerative joint disease.

Arthritis occurs when there are changes in the joints. External signs include joint thickening, a decrease in the range of motion of the joints, pain on moving the joints, and swelling. Internal changes include cartilage break down, bone remodeling, and tenderness or heat. All of the signs lead to pain in your furry companion.

A thorough physical exam by a veterinarian can help diagnose arthritis. Radiographs will help identify those internal changes mentioned above. Once a diagnosis has been made, there are several things that can be done to reduce pain and inflammation and improve the quality of life for your pet.

There are several supplements that can help reduce further damage to the joints and help reduce inflammation, including glucosamine chondroitin sulfate supplements, a good quality fish oil with the appropriate EPA/DHA ratio and Adequan injections. Additional medications that will reduce pain and inflammation are NSAIDs such as Rimadyl and pain medications such as gabapentin. Non-medicinal and non-invasive therapies include physical therapy, acupuncture, and K-Laser therapy.

It is recommended to use several methods of therapy at the same time to help with arthritic symptoms. An example would be using a combination of a good quality joint supplement, low-stress, frequent exercise, oral medications, and K-Laser treatment.

If you suspect your pet is uncomfortable, please schedule an appointment today. We will be happy to discuss the many options available for your pet to live the best life possible.