As our pets age, it is common for them to begin displaying signs and symptoms of arthritis. There are many different methods to treating arthritis to keep your pet active and comfortable. Our blog post for the week covers several of the medications and supplements that are most commonly used in the management of arthritis. If you suspect that your senior pet is beginning to display signs of arthritis, give us a call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Glen or Dr. De Klepper to discuss the many options available to you.
Walking tentatively, favoring legs and acting painful are just a couple signs of arthritis in our furry family members.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis in dogs is also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is caused when the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the bones wears down, and the bone becomes exposed causing pain and inflammation.
While some people may think arthritis is found in dogs only, cats can be affected by this, too. Arthritis in cats can be caused by injury, infection, autoimmune disorder or other degenerative issues. The same symptoms apply in cats as in dogs; seeming stiff or painful, swollen joints and an overall hard time moving around. The symptoms also seems to flare up when the weather is rainy /overcast, just like in its human counterpart.
How is arthritis diagnosed and treated?
According to Dr. Glen, veterinarian at the Animal Hospital of Sint-Maarten, physical exams and radiographs are often used to determine if a pet has arthritis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Glen said there are several ways of treating it:
- There is a group of medications called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which can be used to help treat the inflammation associated with arthritis. Some examples of these medications are Carprodyl and Metacam. If your pet is prescribed this type of medication, the doctor will usually recommend blood work every 6 months to check liver values to make sure the dose remains adequate and safe.
- There are some pain medications such as Tramadol and Gabapentin, which help generically with pain control.
- There are glucosamine supplements to help keep the cartilage in the joints healthy, such as Adequan and Cosequin.
- Running on the beach increases joint pain (the sand being an uneven surface). BUT, swimming is the best exercise in the face of arthritis. So, less running and more swimming!!
If you are concerned your pet may have arthritis or is starting to show some of the beginning signs please call us at the Animal Hospital of Sint-Maarten to either schedule an appointment or speak with your doctor about the recommended treatment for your furry family member!