Osteoarthritis, more commonly known as arthritis, is a disease involving the deterioration of the articular cartilage, which sits between bone joints to aid movement. Its prevalence in pets is increasing for the same
reason it is in humans – as life expectancy increases, joints are exposed to prolonged wear and tear.
The disease mainly affects cats and dogs in their middle to older years, and can affect all breeds and sizes. Some breeds experience higher incidences of the condition – in dogs, these include Labrador Retrievers,
Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers; in cats, Maine Coons and Burmese breeds tend to be more affected. In dogs, the disease may follow on from a history of traumatic or athletic injury, and is
exacerbated by being overweight. For cats, it occurs as a part of the natural aging process, usually after about 12 years of age.
It’s important to take affected pets to a vet who can outline a treatment plan, with the main goal being to reduce pain and inflammation. Modern prescription drugs are becoming increasingly effective and have fewer side effects. More natural
remedies include weight management and glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish oil), which can be taken as supplements and are often found in quality pet food.
To help alleviate symptomatic pain, ensure that food and water bowls are easily accessible, as well as litter trays for cats – these should have low sides. In winter, keep beds off the ground, inside and in a warm spot. Yours
Drolly have an indoor and outdoor range of Osteo beds made from memory foam to relieve pressure points and provide extra support for bones and joints.
If you’re worried that your pet may be susceptible to developing arthritis later in life, there are a number of protective measures you can take, including weight management and giving them Pentosan polysulfate for
joint health. Chondroitin and glucosamine (taken as supplements or included in feeds such as Black Hawk dry dog food) appear to offer long-term benefits by promoting repair of cartilage, reducing inflammation and improving quality of synovial (joint) fluid.
Green-lipped mussel and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids have similar effects.
Symptoms of arthritis in dogs
Clinical signs are hugely variable, and damage starts years before symptoms emerge, and worsens with age.
• Mild to severe pain
• Difficulty in walking and getting up
• Reduced range of motion in affected joints
• Muscle wasting
• Crepitation of joints (grating or popping sounds when the joint is moved)
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