Arthritis

Arthritis is inflammation of the joint and neighbouring bone. It is normally caused by abnormal stresses placed upon the joint such as:

  • Poor conformation (eg hip dysplasia, unstable kneecaps)
  • Ligament tears
  • Overuse and ageing
  • Excess weight

These increased stresses will cause damage inside the joint. The degradation can cause the joint to become inflamed and swollen. The joint’s surrounding tissue thickens in an attempt to stabilise the joint, causing a decreased range of movement.

Symptoms of arthritis

  • Decreased energy
  • Stiffness after resting
  • Limping and slower walking
  • Difficulty with stairs and jumping down from the couch
  • Decrease in self-grooming for cats

Managing arthritis
Regular health checks allow for early detection of arthritis, which makes the condition a lot easier to manage. Once the condition is diagnosed, our vets will recommend a multi-pronged approach that may include focusing on weight loss, appropriate exercise, anti-inflammatory pain relief medications, surgical procedures and supplements. The aim is to improve your pet’s quality of life and freedom of movement as much as possible.

Weight loss and diet
Obtaining a lean weight is very important to reduce the stress placed on sore joints. We will sit down with you personally to address your pet’s weight issues and are able to recommend tailored, calorie restricted diets that are available over the counter at the Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital.

Exercise
Keeping active helps maintain muscle tone and reduce the stress placed on sore joints. Regular, gentle exercise like swimming and on-lead walks on grass is best for pets with arthritis. Try to avoid vigorous playing with other dogs, or chasing balls.

Pain medications
Anti-inflammatory medications are very effective in managing acute and chronic pain. There is a rapid improvement in lameness, pain on joint manipulation and willingness to exercise.

Synovan® arthritis injections
Synovan® is most effective when administered in the early stages of arthritic disease. It can slow the progression of arthritis and help control the pain associated with the disease by increasing joint fluid production and blood supply to joint surfaces. Synovan® is clinically non-toxic and offers a welcome change from repetitive daily and weekly medications that can have negative side effects. Synovan® treatment begins with four weekly injections, then a follow up injection every two to four months.

Surgery
Pets may have a damaged or maligned joint that has the potential to become arthritic. Such conditions include torn cruciate ligaments, unstable knee-caps, and broken bones. A range of surgical procedures can help joints from deteriorating further, giving your pet a more comfortable future.

Supplements
Some supplements can help to decrease inflammation and improve the body’s ability to repair and strengthen tissues.

  • Glucosamine helps the body produce joint lubricants and aids shock absorption in the joints. This is necessary to maintain healthy cartilage and joint function.
  • Chondroitin can help the body to repair damaged cartilage and restore joint integrity. The body’s production of chondroitin decreases with age, making this supplement especially helpful for older animals.
  • Green-lipped mussel is a source of chondroitin and other beneficial nutrients.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids help block the inflammation around joints that causes pain and progresses arthritis.
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