blog04We have officially entered into the winter season and many of you may be experiencing discomfort in your joints from the colder weather. You may have been noticing your beloved pet is slowing down as well. Osteoarthritis is not just a human condition; it is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs and cats.

Arthritis is a chronic degenerative and irreversible disease process affecting the joints with the progressive loss of cartilage that protects bones. Once the cartilage breaks down, bones rub together thus creating inflammation as well as pain. In advanced stages the bones change in size and shape, as a consequence making it more difficult to walk.

Early signs of arthritis in pets may include reluctance to perform routine activities such as jumping into the car. As the disease process worsens over time, pain limits pets and may cause limping and the unwillingness to get up. Overall osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease affecting an animal’s quality of life, however it can be managed.

Osteoarthritis is best managed by taking a multi-modal approach, combining several approaches to provide better results than any individual therapy. A key factor in managing arthritis is for the pet to maintain a lean body weight. Consistent, frequent, low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming will assist with weight loss and maintain muscle tone.

Unfortunately some pets are so debilitated that exercise is too painful without medications. For these patients, it is recommended to relieve pain using a veterinary-approved nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication such as Deramaxx®. Dogs should be monitored every 6 months while on this medication. NSAIDs may aid in pain relief but they are not able to slow down the progression of the disease like joint protectants.

Doctors Pet Clinic is proud to announce that we offer the joint protectant Adequan® Canine for our arthritic patients which has been nicknamed a “miracle worker”. It is an injectable cartilage component called polysulfated glycosaminoglycan. This is the only FDA-approved drug of its type and has a wide margin of safety. It helps prevent cartilage breakdown, stimulates cartilage repair, and increases joint lubrication. It has the benefit of giving faster, longer lasting results compared with oral supplements. When given as instructed, Adequan® Canine begins working in the joints within 2 hours and you should see signs of improvement within 4 weeks!

Punxsutawney Phil predicts we have 6 more weeks of winter. Please give us a call to discuss what options are best for your pet to stay comfortable year-round.

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