Information on the causes of joint pain and muscle weakness in cats and dogs with arthritis.
Select a Topic
- What is Arthritis?
- What cause Arthritis?
- Diagnosing Arthritis
- Help for Arthritis
- More Information on Arthritis
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a progressive disease and the simplest definition is inflammation of the joint. Any damage to the cartilage in the joint as well as the daily wear and tear that joints are subjected to during movement slowly destroys the thin layer of protective cartilage, and in response the body launches a reaction which leads to further cartilage destruction and inflammation. This is a classic no win situation and hence the progressive nature of arthritis.
Pets with arthritis may show no signs of lameness or discomfort but in other pets swelling of the joints, pain and creaking and clicking of the affected joints may be noted.
What are the symptoms of Arthritis?
- Difficulty getting up
- Pain when jumping
- Joints making a creaking or crackling sound
What causes Arthritis?
The causes are many and include trauma, such as cruciate ligament rupture, infection, and immune-mediated diseases or may even result due to malformation of the limbs such as bulldogs and daschunds.
Help for Arthritis
As a conscientious pet owner you obviously wish to do all you can to restore your pet to health and vitality. As part of a holistic, natural approach to the health of your pet’s musculoskeletal system, a well balanced, natural, organic diet will supply all the nutrients needed to keep muscles, joints and bones in optimal health.
Controlled exercise is an important part of managing arthritis in your pet. Although your dog may object to going out for a walk, by getting him/her up and walking, blood circulation to all those painful joints will be improved and the inflammatory substances that are involved in the discomfort of arthritis will be flushed away.
This is the reason that most owners report that the stiffness often disappears after a bit of exercise or even with warmer weather when circulation is less sluggish. Your arthritic cat will also benefit from a gentle game of seek-and-destroy the catnip mouse
More Information on Arthritis
Treatment for arthritis may be medical or surgical. Nonsurgical therapies include weight reduction (never underestimate the importance of this), controlled exercise on soft surfaces and/or hydrotherapy, and applying warm compresses, such as hot water bottles to those aching, stiff joints.
Conventional medicine also makes use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, meloxicam, carprofen, phenylbutazone and corticosteroids. These act by blocking certain pathways in the pain response but long-term use must be carefully considered as adverse effects include gastro-intestinal problems such as poor appetite, vomiting and gastro-intestinal ulcers.
Certain NSAIDs can also cause damage to the kidneys. Great care must be used when treating cats with NSAIDs. Surgical options include joint fusion, joint replacement such as hip replacement, joint excision and amputation.
There’s no way to prevent arthritic changes whether they’re simply due to the ageing process or because of earlier trauma to the joint. Certainly prompt treatment of any suspected joint or bone injury is highly recommended and making sure that your pet doesn’t become overweight will minimize the chances of arthritis developing.
Some useful tips
- Do not allow your dog/cat to become overweight
- Feed a balanced, organic diet free from preservatives and colorants
- Controlled exercise is an important part of managing arthritis in your pet. Although your dog may object to going out for a walk, by getting him/her up and walking, blood circulation to all those painful joints will be improved and the inflammatory substances that are involved in the discomfort of arthritis will be flushed away. This is the reason that most owners report that the stiffness often disappears after a bit of exercise or even with warmer weather when circulation is less sluggish.
- Your arthritic cat will also benefit from a gentle game of seek-and-destroy the catnip mouse.