Many of us have pets, and nearly all of them, at least at one point in their lives, will be affected by something that only a trained veterinarian can help with. But vets can't do it all themselves: they need you and I, the
servants caretakers of the pets to be able to recognize something is wrong in the first place. I asked Dr. Kathy Gagliardi whether she would be interested in sending me an article that I could post on here, and she was kind enough to oblige! Here's a little bit about Dr. Gagliardi:
Today, Dr. Gagliardi is going to be telling us a little bit about osteoarthritis, and what you can do to help out your beloveddogs and cats. In the United States it is estimated that one out of five adult dogs suffer from arthritis. The definition of osteoarthritis is: progressive disease of inflammation and deterioration of the soft tissue, cartilage and bone in one or more joints. It is a chronic disease (develops over months to years) leading to pain and decreased mobility. The disease worsens as cartilage in the animal’s joint breaks down and friction between the bones causes pain. Inflammation in the joint also can cause abnormal bony growths on the joints and thickening of the surrounding soft tissue.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The first step in helping your pet is to recognize the signs of arthritis and tell your veterinarian. Ask yourself if you have noticed any of the following signs (be aware, the signs may not be present at all times): reluctance to climb stairs, difficulty jumping, stiffness after exercise, limping, difficulty rising, difficulty with positioning to eliminate, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior. Some animals are at greater risk for arthritis due to the following factors: being overweight, breed (a large or giant breed), previous joint injuries, and previously diagnosed elbow, knee, or hip dysplasia.
If you suspect your dog has arthritis, your veterinarian can do a physical exam on your pet to help determine the location. Also radiographs (X-rays) of the joints are often needed to confirm the diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been reached, there are many different treatment options that can be offered. Treatment options include: pain medications, diet, exercise, joint supplements, physical therapy sessions, and acupuncture. Medications that are commonly used to treat osteoarthritis include: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), joint supplements (like chondroitin and glucosamine), and pain medication like Tramadol. The chondro-protective joint medications like chondroitin and glucosamine are similar to those used in people however often have different doses or formulas so it is important to discuss the best one for your pet with your veterinarian. Alternative medicine is another great option for pets with osteoarthritis the benefits of physical therapy and acupuncture have proven to be an effective treatment in animals as well as people. Also being overweight and not exercising can make osteoarthritis worse so many pets treatment plan will also include diet and strict/set exercise routine.
The wide range of treatment options can often make it overwhelming for a pet’s guardian to decide what is best for there pet. Therefore it is best to discuss the options in detail with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is right for your pet. Your veterinarian will let you know which treatment modalities would best suit your pet.
VCA Centennial Valley Animal Hospital is a full service veterinary hospital in Louisville, Colorado. We are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). We provide care for dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, rabbits, reptiles and exotics. Our Services include Preventive Care, Laser Surgery, Digital X-Ray, In House Pharmacy, Full Dental Care, In House Laboratory, Hospitalization, Acupuncture/Herbs, and Pain management. Our Doctors and staff are compassionate, certified and friendly. www.cvah.com
I would like to thank Dr. Gagliardi for helping us out and letting us know all about osteoarthritis. In the future, keep an eye out for a few more posts from Dr. Gagliardi! Thanks again, and we look forward to hearing from you again soon!