As the weather becomes cooler many owners notice their older dog finds it harder to get moving in the morning. Some dogs may actually limp, others are just a little stiff and may be reluctant to play or even go for their regular walk. Many people think that this is just a sign of old age and that nothing can be done. In actual fact many of these dogs are suffering from the painful and debilitating condition of osteoarthritis and can be helped.
A physical examination by your vet, with the possibility of x-rays and blood testing, may be required to help diagnose the problem before the dog can be prescribed one of the very effective anti-inflammatory medications, several of which come in a palatable treat form. Your vet may also recommend a course of pentosan polysulphate injections which can improve joint function often giving relief for several months.
In addition to the medications mentioned above there are also nutritional supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate and fish oil which anecdotally are thought to improve cartilage health in the damaged joints resulting in reduced pain and increased mobility. These products are available “over the counter” and can be used either alone or in combination with prescription medications.
Helpful tips to make life easier for your arthritic dog;
- Make sure he or she has a comfortable bed.
- Have a warm coat for them to wear on cold nights.
- Gentle exercise, especially swimming, is good to prevent muscle wastage.
- Physiotherapy and acupuncture can often be very helpful and a referral can be organised for this.
- Keeping your pet in a healthy weight range is very important, if your pet becomes overweight this will put more stress on the joints.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet, please give us a call for more information.