If your pet is limping, lethargic, and preferring to stay in bed they may have arthritis. Arthritis is a condition known to cause severe joint inflammation, often referred to as a degenerative joint disease. Arthritis in pets becomes more pronounced as joint cartilage wears out. As a result, joints start swelling up, followed by intense pain and inflammation. This is often an uncomfortable experience for your pet, especially as it worsens.
Joint cartilage wears out for several reasons, such as:
- Poor joint structure and positioning
- Tremendous weight gain
- Certain diseases
- Abnormal gait or posture
- Genetic inheritance
Identifying Arthritis in Your Pet
There are a few ways to help you tell whether your pet has developed arthritis. Symptoms are usually distinctive, therefore making it easier to narrow down on this condition. Look out for these signs:
- Your pet finds it difficult to climb up or jump down the stairs.
- There’s little desire to engage in any form of physical exercise.
- The body looks stiff, especially after a rest.
- Your pet seems to want to drag their back legs instead of walking normally.
- Limping and favoring one leg over the other.
How to Manage Arthritis
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for arthritis. However, this doesn’t mean your pet has to live in pain. First, you’ll need to make sure to have a way of suppressing inflammation in the joints.
Typically, the pain escalates after intense physical activity or after your pet gets up from rest. Cold weather is also another contributor to the pain. Managing the discomfort requires making the best of certain strategies to help slow down arthritis progression. Here are just a few options for managing the discomfort.
1. Keep an Eye on Their Weight
After your pet develops arthritis, it doesn’t help if they gain more weight. Gaining weight will put even more pressure on the worn-out joint cartilages, making the symptoms much worse.
Your best approach is to discuss restricting your pet’s calorie intake with your vet and motivate them to engage in easy exercises. Walking your pet around the block is an excellent example of gentle exercise. This light exercise will help keep their weight in check, which is a vital strategy for arthritis management.
2. Incorporate an Omega 3 Diet
A diet rich in Omega 3 has significant advantages when it comes to managing arthritis. The vital component is the fatty acids Omega 3 contains. These acids inhibit specific enzymes responsible for triggering damage to the joint cartilages.
They also act to prevent joint inflammation, which will help lessen the pain for your pet. An Omega 3 diet is, therefore, an invaluable factor in limiting the advancement of arthritis.
3. Administering Anti-inflammatory Medicine
Using anti-inflammatory drugs isn’t only a strategy for pain relief but also a popular form of treatment for arthritis. These medications are often preferred to provide relief for severe pain.
They are also used as a complementary treatment for long-term pain. Note that medicine won’t slow down the advancement of arthritis unless it is used together with other treatment options.
4. Using Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals have continued to show promising outcomes in dogs and cats suffering from arthritis. An example of a good nutraceutical is Green Lipped Mussel.
This product has glucosamine and chondroitin, which are the main components of cartilage. They act to help rebuild damaged cartilage, ultimately reducing pain and inflammation for your pet.
Get a Veterinarian’s Opinion
The good news is there are many treatment options to help with arthritis. Your pet does not need to experience constant pain. If you notice any signs of inflammation or joint discomfort, visit your vet as soon as possible. Your vet can develop and follow through on an arthritis management strategy for your pet.
At Naples Coastal Animal Hospital we are dedicated professionals ready to handle all aspects of your pet’s care and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Your pet’s well-being is a goal we wish to help you achieve. Contact us today to discuss your pet’s needs and to schedule an appointment.