Almost all pets (and people) are affected by arthritis at some point in their lifetime. While it is not always a debilitating condition, it certainly can affect the quality of life.
At Dupont Veterinary Clinic, we are big proponents of treating osteoarthritis in pets early and aggressively to ensure the happiest pet possible.
A normal joint consists of two bones held together by a joint capsule. Between the two bones there is a spongy padding called cartilage. A slippery substance called synovial fluid bathes and lubricates the joint as well.
Trauma occurs to the joint over time through normal wear and tear, stress on the joint, or as a result of an injury. As this happens parts of the cartilage are damaged and the joint capsule may become thickened and angry, leading to pain and inflammation. These changes are referred to as osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, the damage doesn’t stop there. As cartilage degrades, the body initiates an immune response, further perpetuating damage within the joint. It’s a vicious cycle that not only is painful, but also decreases mobility in the pet.
Fighting Osteoarthritis in Pets
While osteoarthritis in pets often occurs no matter how proactive we are, in most situations it is a manageable condition. Our veterinary staff takes a multi-pronged approach when trying to help pets live their best life.
A plan to handle a diagnosis of arthritis often includes:
A weight management plan – Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential to helping a pet handle arthritis. Excess weight puts additional strain on already aching joints which increases inflammatory mediators in the bloodstream.
Nutritional supplements – Supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects in joints that are affected by osteoarthritis. Dupont’s unique joint supplement Ultra Care II provides these ingredients as well as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and collagen extracts to help dampen the body’s immune attacks on abnormal joints.
Dietary therapy – Specific prescription diets like Hill’s Prescription Diet j/d and Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility can help support a healthy weight while supplying joint support.
Medications – Medications to decrease inflammation and manage pain can help provide comfort and support and active lifestyle, preventing muscle atrophy and further worsening of arthritis.
Exercise and rehabilitation – Just as in people, gentle exercise and rehabilitation therapy can help support a healthy weight, improve muscle mass, decrease pain, and aid in normal function.
Joint injections – Intra-articular injections with joint support medications or anti-inflammatories like steroids can help to keep a pet pain-free.
Cold laser therapy – The use of cold laser is gaining traction as a newer adjunctive modality. Cold laser therapy can decrease inflammation, treat pain, and encourage healing.
Regenerative medicine — Treatments such as injections into the joint with platelet-rich plasma can have tremendous benefits in certain pets.
If your pet is suffering from osteoarthritis, don’t wait to ask for help. You have come to the right place when it comes to helping animals with joint pain.