Here comes the cold weather. And with the cold, arthritis in your animals can be more obvious and painful.

Arthritis is one of the most common sources of chronic pain in cats and dogs, and one of the most commonly treated conditions.

Signs of arthritis may be subtle and easy to miss, they include

•Reluctance to take walks of usual length

•Stiffness (that may disappear once the pet has ‘warmed up’)

•Difficulty climbing stairs, climbing in the car, on the bed or a sofa

•Difficulty rising from rest

•Limping, or abnormal gait

•Pacing at night

•Licking of a single joint

•Acting withdrawn, spending less time playing with family (which is often misunderstood as a sign of ‘aging’)

•Soreness when touched, Crying when picked up.

•aggression when touched or approached

What you can do

Early treatment is critical to slow progression of the disease. Consult your vet if you think your pet may be displaying signs of arthritis.

•Maintaining lean body weight is absolutely critical for arthritic patients to decrease excess stress on joints. If your pet is overweight, discuss a weight loss diet with your vet.

•Proper exercise, which maintains muscle mass and decreases pain (Low-impact exercise is best; swimming or walking through shallow water is ideal; Leash walking and controlled jogging are also acceptable)

•Time dependent medications (Glucosamine and chondroitin; and fish oils/ omega 3s) are most effective when started early and maintained long-term. Foods with these supplements already added are often available from your vet, otherwise tablets, powders and liquids are available.

•Acupuncture, massage and physical therapy may be helpful for later stages of the disease.

•Heated beds in winter, and dog coats reduce exposure to cold.

•“Arthritis injections” (Cartrophen/Pentosan). Talk to your vet about these injections which can help preserve cartilage in the joints.

•Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs are often needed for acute pain or ongoing treatment in severe cases.

Remember, treatment for joint disease is best started early and is likely to involve a combination of medications in addition to physical activity and maintenance of ideal weight

Contact us today for:
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(03) 5470 6300 or (03) 5472 2268