We see many pets that come into North Hill Animal Hospital that have mobility issues, usually, they are older in age but we still see it in younger pets as well. Some signs of mobility issues may include having a hard time getting up from laying down, hesitant to use stairs, slower when walking and may be quieter. Pets are very good at not showing us symptoms of discomfort. Pets get osteoarthritis just like we do, 45% of dogs between the ages of 8 and 12 and 90% of cats over the age of 12 are affected. Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that may affect any joint. This occurs when the cartilage in the joint breaks down or gets damaged and causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain.
Weight is a very big factor when it comes to mobility. When a pet is over-weight this put excess stress on the joints. Keeping a lean body weight is ideal to help prevent or slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
Here are some options that can help prevent and/or give relief to pets with mobility issues:
- Nutraceuticals such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, green lipped muscle and devil’s claw. All of this help support cartilage in the joints, may reduce inflammation which will help relieve pain.
- Omega fatty acids help to support joint health.
- Some veterinary diets are specifically formulated to help improve joint health and reduce joint pain. They have high levels of omega fatty acids that reduce inflammation, glucosamine, and chondroitin which are the building blocks for cartilage. Some diets may also contain green lipped muscle which improves clinical signs of arthritis by reducing inflammation. These diets also promote an ideal weight to reduce the load on the joints.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) can reduce inflammation and offer pain relief in pets with more advanced disease.
***You shouldn’t give your pet any medications that you may have at your house until you talk to your veterinarian.***
5. Another treatment option for osteoarthritis is laser therapy (also known as “cold laser”) This works by reducing swelling which helps speed the repair of tissue. When joints become sore from arthritis, there are lots of swelling in the affected joints. Laser therapy works to reduce swelling, but this form of treatment has lasting effects. Please see Dr. Kerr’s blog: “Laser Therapy For Your Pet” for more information regarding laser therapy
6. Alternative Therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage and aqua therapy are also available for pets.
Written by Brandy Johnson, RVT