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Posted on 12-11-2017

Osteoarthritis (also known as arthritis) is a common ailment in many of our aging pets, with both cats and dogs being affected in high numbers. Often, it is a degenerative change that comes with age but may be hastened if your pet has a known joint disease such as hip dysplasia, luxating kneecaps or has been overweight for long periods of Time. Typically joint pain shows up as a limping or stiffness, especially in the morning and during seasons of cold weather. For cats, it is often less noticeable and may just be a slight decrease in the amount of jumping, running or an increase of inappropriate elimination (not correctly using the litter box). Arthritis can affect any joint but is more commonly seen in the hips, knees, elbows, and back or spine.

Frequently dogs start showing signs at 7 or 8 years of age, depending on their size. According to statistics, dogs aged 7-10 have a 65% chance of developing arthritis. It has been studied in cats as well, with 3 out of every 10 cats affected, and generally showing signs at 9-12 years of age. If these seem like high numbers it’s because they are!! But the good news is that we have supplements and other therapies to help.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are normal substances found in animals’ bodies. They tend to be at the highest concentration in cartilage, which is the body’s natural rubber cushion between joints. They help to keep cartilage healthy and retain water. These two ingredients are the backbone of what M.D.’s and veterinarians are referring to when we recommend a joint supplement. Many of these supplements also contain a compound called MSM. MSM helps deliver sulfur to the body which in turn creates linkages in connective tissue and helps strengthen the joint.

When it comes to the treatment of arthritis in our furry friends, often a multisystemic approach is best, combining the protective and anti-inflammatory effects of glucosamine/chondroitin supplements such as Rematrix (currently on sale at Parktown) or Joint Max, with K-laser or Adequan injections. Still other pets have severe arthritis which requires a combo of these therapies in addition to prescription strength anti- inflammatories or pain medication to adequately manage their discomfort. We are always happy to consult with you about your pet and their individual needs by offering a variety of services and products that can be tailored to suit your pet. Please stop by or schedule an appointment with one of our doctors if you are interested in learning more about joint pain and treatment.

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