Did you know that around 9,000,000 people in the UK suffer from arthritis? But did you also know that just like us humans it commonly affects our four-legged friends too? An estimated eight out of ten older cats and dogs are living with this painful joint condition, but we often mistakenly put the symptoms down to old age when in reality they could be suffering in silence.
So let’s get down to the real bones of this debilitating joint disease.
Here comes the geeky bit! The suffix ‘itis’ means inflammation, and arthritis simply means inflammation of the joints.
There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis. Healthy joints are covered by cartilage, a rubbery material that creates a cushion between the bones and provides a smooth surface for movement. When arthritis occurs, this cartilage breaks down, causing swelling, stiffness, movement problems and increasing pain, which steadily spreads throughout the body.
Arthritis is normally found in older cats and dogs, although it can affect youngsters too. It’s usually caused by natural wear and tear of the joints, but can also be linked to injuries, as well as joint abnormalities such as hip dysplasia for dogs and dislocation for cats.
Sadly our furry friends aren’t able to communicate like humans if they are in pain and are very good at hiding it! Whilst dogs can yelp out in pain, cats tend to be more stiff and grumpy – but who can blame them living with constant pain!
If your beloved pet is showing any of the above symptoms book them in for an examination. To help diagnose arthritis we might do a handful of tests including a urine sample, blood tests, Xray scans and even trying anti-inflammatory medicine in the first instance.
The great news is that we can recommend plenty of treatments to help manage your pets arthritis and relieve their discomfort. These might include painkillers, anti-inﬂammatory drugs, joint supplements, and specially formulated diets. We can also refer our patientds for physical rehabilitation and hydrotherapy.
One of the best treatments for arthritis is a product made from the stem cells of Chinese hamster ovaries! Yes that’s right our small furry friends have super-human antibodies that attack arthritis! Mind-blowing!
If your precious pet is diagnosed with arthritis, there are measures you can take to help them at home too, such as giving them a warm, cosy bed, covering slippery ﬂoors with anti-slip matting, brief and regular walks and ensuring your cat’s litter tray is easily accessible.
Weight control also makes a big difference, because weight puts pressure on the joints. We often find that overweight pets are much more prone to developing arthritis which is another reason why maintaining a healthy weight is vital to their preventative care.
This varies on the severity of the condition but on the average cost of treating a dog with arthritis is around £500- £1000 per year! The most cost-affective way to help your arthritic pet is by joining our 365 Pet Care Plan. Members on the plan get 25% off lifetime meds which is a huge cost-saving. Find out more about our amazing value plan below:
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