Canine Arthritis by Laura Clubley

Canine Arthritis

As winter approaches we are more likely to see signs of arthritic changes in our pets, mainly due to the British weather! Four out of five older dogs will suffer with arthritis.

These signs include slowing down on walks, becoming less enthusiastic or struggling to get up and down easily. Showing signs of stiffness, lameness, an arched back or squatting differently or whilst moving. These change of behaviours will most often be seen at home, not on an ‘exciting’ walk.

Factors which make this worse include:

  • Cold damp weather
  • Draughts
  • Overweight (overweight dogs are more likely to develop arthritis earlier)
  • Muscle loss
  • Uneven or slippery surfaces

Arthritis management must be combination of solutions to be effective. This includes veterinary based treatments and medications, but also changes at home:

  • Pain Management – starting with a consult/ health check, your pet may benefit from anti-inflammatory medications

 

  • Weight management – Free nurse clinics are available to book most weekday afternoons (A 5-10% loss in bodyweight leads to significantly improved symptoms – the same as starting a pain relief medication)

 

  • Diet/ Supplements – EPA (Eicosopentanoic Acid) reduces cartilage damage helping the joint surface – found in prescription diets or in Green lipped mussel extract eg Yumove Advance (10% discount with senior pet clinic)

 

  • Exercise Management – Regular exercise within your dog’s capabilities is beneficial to maintain muscle mass and strength (but take time to build up distance/ inclines)

 

  • Keep warm and out of draughts – Raised/padded pet bed, dry your dog’s legs after a walk, use a dog coat to keep them warm and dry

 

  • Environment Management – Use carpet runners on slippery floors, ramps and smaller stairs for large steps or the car, avoid unsupervised use of the stairs

 

  • Physiotherapy/ Water walker – Aim to maintain and strengthen muscles to help protect joints and counterbalance joint stiffness/ fibrosis. Also to increase your pet’s mobility and range of joint movements. Exercises can be done at home or at a specialist centre.

 

Links:

CAM – Canine Arthritis Managementwww.caninearthritis.co.uk also found on Facebook + Twitter

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