How Can We Treat Arthritis?
You may have heard about arthritis. You may have thought it was a faraway thing, only for the really old pets. Except that arthritis can begin in one-year-olds and end up causing huge issues by the time your pet is middle-aged.
This is because arthritis is an interesting disease. It doesn’t always have a singular cause, but many things can add up to it. Some dogs have knee caps that pop in and out, some pets are overweight, and some pets are born that way. It starts with inflammation in the joint which eats away at cartilage. Once that cartilage is gone, it doesn’t grow back.
That’s why preventing arthritis is so important. It’s one of those diseases we can’t cure, only slow down, and it can significantly impact day-to-day life for your pet.
So, how do we prevent arthritis?
There’s no one way to prevent arthritis, just as there isn’t just one cause.
However, before we launch into the full list of what we can do, note that in some cases, surgery is the only way to prevent the onset of terrible arthritis. This is because some pets have very unstable joints and the instability causes persistent inflammation.
Supplements are really popular with paw-rents to reduce inflammation in the joints.
Our favourite supplement is an omega-3 supplement, like in PAW Fish Oil Veterinary Strength or 4Cyte. There is a lot of evidence that omega-3 supplements reduce inflammation and, therefore, slow down degeneration. As mentioned, there isn’t a ton of evidence for some nutraceuticals, so do be aware that your furbaby may have a very individual response. Always consult your veterinarian before you commence supplementation.
This is the most important thing you can do!!! If your pet is overweight, discuss weight loss with your veterinarian. The lighter your furbaby is, the less weight those joints have to carry.
Some prescription diets can help with this. One of our favourites is Hill’s Metabolic + Mobility which combines supplementation of omega-3’s with weight control.
Just as in humans, physiotherapy is very important! We love physiotherapy so much, we wrote a whole blog on it. The exercises and therapies a physiotherapist can be pivotal in reducing inflammation and helping your furbaby bear weight more evenly.
The important thing here is ensuring your physiotherapist is properly trained! Have a chat with your veterinarian to make sure the physiotherapist you’ve chosen is suitable for you and your furbaby. Better yet, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation!
Pentosan Polysulphate Injections
Pentosan polysulphate is an injectable agent which relieves inflammation in joints by improving circulation to the cartilage and breaking the inflammatory cycle. A course of injections – once weekly for four weeks – can make a huge difference. In some furbabies, the effect lasts long enough that they only need a course once a year!
In tough times – like winter – medications are a tremendously useful tool. We can use medication to actively break the inflammatory cycle. We can also use medications to manage the pain your furbaby feels. This doesn’t mean we want to use medications all the time. We often use medications together with the other therapies we’ve listed above. The key is tailoring a plan to each furbaby, because each furbaby is so different!
Has your furbaby been more sore recently? Have a chat with your veterinarian! Arthritis is really, really painful and you can make such a difference in your furbaby’s quality of life by working together with your veterinarian.