What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis，also referred to as arthritis, is a common issue in cats and dogs, particularly in seniors. It is a progressively worsening condition of joints caused by the deterioration of cartilage. It leads to inflammation, swelling and pain which negatively affects our pet’s quality of life. According to studies by the American Kennel Club, up to one in five dogs suffer from arthritis. Thus, it’s important for us to recognize the signs and symptoms of arthritis to help our pets manage their pain and improve their joint health.
What causes arthritis?
Arthritis can be caused by a range of potential factors, such as:
- Age, particular middle-aged to senior dogs
- Weight and obesity can increase the risk of arthritis because of extra strain on joints.
- Genetics and breeding, some large or giant breeds, for example, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
- Injuries, ligament tears or broken bones.
- Joint deformities, such as hip, knee or elbow dysplasia.
- Improper nutrition
- Poor conformation
How to recognize signs of arthritis?
Limping is the most obvious symptom of arthritis, especially after exercise. However, there are some other behavioural signs including:
- Lameness, stiffness when getting up or down, or after resting
- Reluctance to go up or down stairs or for cats unwilling to play and jump
- Have pain reaction when petted or touched
- Licking of hips or joints
- Trouble posturing to urinate or defecate
- Loss of muscle mass over the limbs and spine
How can I help my pet with arthritis pain?
Unfortunately, arthritis is a progressive disease that cannot be cured. An important way to avoid arthritis is to ensure your dog or cat is always at a healthy weight. It can reduce the extra stress placed on joints.
There are many veterinary products for pets already diagnosed with arthritis such as Pentosan polysulfate and steroid injection. It has been proven that Pentosan can slow the progression of arthritis and help relieve joint pain and the steroid injection can reduce inflammation.
In addition, a joint supplement that included glucosamine and chondroitin is a good remedy to improve joint function, reduce inflammation and slow the progression of joint damage. Green-lipped mussel (GLM) is a natural ingredient for both human and pets that contains beneficial nutrients such as glycosaminoglycans, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. It is often used as an early intervention and throughout the progression of arthritis because they are very safe for long-term use.