Cedric, as pictured above is one of the eighty percent of dogs over the age of eight who suffer from osteoarthritis. This issue isn’t just subject to dogs either, with two thirds of cats over the age of six also suffering from this joint problem. As animals age the cartilage between the joints thins, reducing the amount of lubrication which in turn causes the bones to rub against each other in a painful manner. This grating of the bones can also lead to small cartilage fragments breaking away and floating in the joint cavity, which is filled with synovial fluid, causing major irritation when the joints are moved. Osteoarthritis can go un-noticed in many animals until it is quite severe. Due to their natural instincts of not wanting to show pain or weakness they can hide their discomfort for a significant period. Therefore, it is so important to be familiar with your pets’ mannerisms to be able to pick up on small behavioural changes that may indicate signs of discomfort. Slowing down on walks, not wanting to play or reluctance jumping can all be symptoms of joint issues starting to develop in your pet.
Once discovered, treatment can be both easy and effective, especially if caught early. Using a injection can help manage and control your pet’s arthritis by altering the underlying arthritic process. Common medicines work in a twostep process, to encourage the bodies natural production of cartilage tissue and to halt the production of enzymes that can be harmful to cartilage. This injection is first given once a week for four weeks, then every three months or sooner if required. Other options to manage osteoarthritis are food additives. This has been proven to aid in the bodies ability to produce cartilage cells. Another big factor in osteoarthritis is weight.
Overweight and obese animals put excess pressure on their joints causing further discomfort and can mean the difference between a slight discomfort to not even wanting to get up. Obesity also affects many other parts of the animal’s body and should be dealt with immediately. A veterinarian or nurse will be able to determine the best weight for your pet but a quick at home test can be performed. With your pet standing normally, gently run your hands down either side of the animal’s ribs. You should be able to easy palpate each rib and count them (though they should not be protruding in an obvious fashion). If you are finding it hard to locate each rib, then your pet is overweight.
If you need to manage weight and joint care in your pet, then the Hills Metabolic + Mobility range is fantastic for watching those extra calories and providing support for the joints. In clinical trials it was proven that this food can help dogs lose 13% of their body weight within 60 days. This may seem like a long time, but weight should be lost gradually for a healthy diet. Once they reach their goal weight this food can also be used as a maintenance diet, keeping them trim whist caring for those joints. Hills also have a food palatability guarantee so if you try this diet for your pet and they won’t eat it you can receive a full refund.