If you have an elderly pet whose get-up-and-go has started to slow down, you might want to consider the possibility of pet arthritis and joint ailments. Just like in humans, as pets grow older, their joints, bones, and their connections wear down, making mobility painful and sometimes even impossible. Fortunately, many of the same treatments pet owners use to ease pain and increase movement for themselves can be incorporated into a pet’s joint health regimen to diminish aches and pains.
The Pains of Pet Arthritis
Although it is common, arthritis is not well understood, and the phrase actually refers to not one but several diseases. But most often, it refers to joint disease and joint pain in pets. While people and animals of any age can suffer from arthritis, it usually occurs in elderly patients. Symptoms include joint swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Pet parents may notice more limping in older dogs and cats as well as the inability to jump on beds and couches, difficulty with stairs and steps, and challenges in running or walking.
Treatment for companion dogs and cats follows many of the same lines as human therapy with steroids, NSAIDs (non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory aspirin, ibuprofen, and certain prescription medicines), and neutraceuticals (joint supplements). In fact, joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin and more, are gaining wide popularity in pet and human diets as an aid for improved mobility.
First Steps to Treating Pet Arthritis
To help animals suffering from arthritis or other joint issues always consult with your veterinarian first. A thorough examination can help determine if your pet’s mobility problems are based on pet arthritis or something else like structural damage, cartilage tears, calcium deposits or scar tissue that may require surgery. Pets are often very adept at hiding pain, so ruling out these ailments can be reassuring. If your vet finds no evidence of these issues, improving your furred companion’s mobility can be done in several ways.
Working with your veterinarian, chart a course of action designed to ease pet joint pain/inflammation and increase flexibility. Your vet may suggest a mix of treatments, including steroids, ibuprofen, and even prescription medicines. Supplements with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, omega fatty acids, vitamin E, selenium, and MSM (methylsufonylmethane) help decrease joint inflammation (at the nerve endings) as well as aid in the body’s ability to fix and strengthen bone tissue. These substances will not improve conditions that require surgery, but they can make it less painful for a pet to go about his daily living.
Remember: Never give any medication to your pet without consulting your veterinarian.
Check Out Our Supplements for Pet Arthritis
Please note that prescription drugs for pet arthritis may be accompanied by side effects. Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, present little to no side effects but can take several weeks to produce results. Extracted from the shells of crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, glucosamine works to increase the production of joint lubrication (or the shock absorbers) in a pet’s body. A naturally occurring substance, glucosamine also provides many benefits to the entire body—from nails to tendons and bone structure, eyes and even heart. It improves digestive, respiratory, and urinary function, too.
Chondroitin Sulfate benefits flexibility by aiding in the repair of damaged connective tissue. Research suggests it may protect existing cartilage as well as reduce joint inflammation. Other joint-improving supplements offer a great remedy for joint pain in pet, but be careful when you choose the products. Not all supplements are created alike. Brand name companies will produce these products under the same rigorous standards used to produce human food, so don’t be attracted by a price that seems too good to be true.
So, to get some go-go juice back in your pet’s tank, find out what is the best way to keep your aging cat or dog on the go! Since pets often hide their pain, make sure to take good care of your senior pet so he or she can get-up-and-go with less pain.