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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Paws For Thought- Article 9

30th May 2019

Arthritis

 

We are in the midst of National Dog Mobility Awareness Week (27th May to the 2nd June) and so we thought it would be a good time to release this article about arthritis and how to manage your pet if they are suffering with their joints. Arthritis generally effects our older patients, but we can have some pets who sadly suffer from a young age. If you read through and find that some of these symptoms are being shown by your pet- do give us a ring on 01483 538990 so that we can book an appointment to assess them further.

Lintbells, who are running the Mobility Awareness Week are asking owners to "PAWS" and check the 4 key changes below. We thought it was a nice way of assessing your pet- and as the acronym is 'PAWS' I couldn't resist including it in this "Paws For Thought" article:

(P)osture: Are there any changes in your dog’s body shape, muscle strength or simply in the way they walk

(A)ttitude: Has your dog unexpectedly changed the way they react to you, your family or to other dogs?

(W)illingness: Is your dog still up for walks, games, bouncing in and out of the car and barking at every little thing?

(S)lowing down: Has your dog been slowing down lately, sooner than you hoped they might?

 

Symptoms of arthritis:

    Lameness

    Stiffness/reluctance to get up from bed

    Licking of the limbs

    Not jumping up/climbing stairs as readily

    Altered gait

Cats are particularly under-diagnosed when it comes to arthritis, as they generally hide symptoms from us. If you notice that your older cat is sleeping more, has reduced grooming on the hindquarters or is not jumping up onto the surfaces with such ease- these can all be signs of arthritis and we may recommend further investigation.

 

Prevention:

Some pets, particularly some larger breeds of dogs (e.g. Labradors) will be pre-disposed to getting arthritis. Although we can't stop dogs from getting arthritis, we can try and delay the progression and reduce the severity of symptoms.

 

    Maintain a healthy, low weight to reduce strain on the joints

    Strengthen muscles around joints through controlled walking, and sometimes physiotherapy/hydrotherapy can help.

    There is limited evidence to show that joint supplements help in dogs, although anecdotally some clients say they have reduced symptoms.

 

Treatment:

Sadly, treatment is not curative, but it is necessary to reduce pain in those suffering with arthritis. This will generally involve an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medication, and sometimes further pain relief when required.

Adjunctive treatments such as myotherapy (performed by Luisa at our surgery) can also really help to reduce pain and reduce the risk of compensatory issues.

If you are concerned that your pet might be suffering with arthritis, please do give us a ring at the Cape Veterinary Clinic on 01483 538990 so that we can arrange an appointment with one of our vets to discuss further investigation and pain management.

 

Catherine Hannah BVSc MRCVS

Ref: Lintbells.

 

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