Many of us remember our hearts breaking as our first pet’s joints stiffened and their playfulness dimmed. But, our spirits soared when our parents decided to pay a visit to the vet. “They can fix this!” you thought. Back then, we often thought that doctors could fix anything. Instead, we were left sitting in stunned silence as the doctor said, “There’s nothing we can do for arthritis.” While this may have been true ten or twenty years ago, that’s no longer the case. There are treatments available through our veterinarians and all-natural home remedies available through companies like Vet Organics. Both will be effective, depending upon the phase you use them. EcoMobility™ Joint & Hip Complex for Dogs is a powerful combination of all-natural ingredients formulated to support healthy cartilage and joint function.
If you missed part one to this article, You can find it at: What You Need To Know About Pet Joint Care: Part Two
Diagnosing Joint Problems and Arthritis
We should take our fur-babies to the vet at the first sign of arthritis. But, many of us wonder what will happen when we get there. As the appointment nears, our mind fills with questions: How are joint problems diagnosed? Is the exam painful? Are there injections involved? Luckily for us worry warts, diagnosing arthritis is relatively painless, three-step procedure.
The Talk: The veterinarian will start by asking about any changes we’ve seen in our pet. To make this question and answer session easier, we suggest bringing a notepad filled with our observations. We must also avoid the temptation to sugarcoat our dog or cat’s condition. Honesty is a prerequisite for an accurate diagnosis.
The Physical Exam: Now that our vet has a better idea of what’s going on, they’ll begin to examine our pet’s limbs for signs of pain, swelling, or discomfort.
The X-rays: If our vet believes a joint problem is to blame, he or she will probably order some x-rays. Once they come back, the vet will examine them for signs of joint space narrowing, bone spurs, increased bone density, cysts, or cloudiness. After looking over the scans, the vet delivers his or her final diagnosis.
Ways to Treat Animal Arthritis
If our pet is found to have arthritis, the vet will generally prescribe one of five things:
Pain Medication: Most vets start by prescribing a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to relieve pain. Medicines of this class include Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Novox. The use of these prescriptions can lead to kidney failure, so regular blood tests are required for extended use. And as a side note, please remember that NSAIDs cannot be given to cats.
Corticosteroids: A synthetic version of a hormone our pets produce naturally, corticosteroids reduce inflammation and lessen the body’s immune response. As these drugs have serious side effects, most vets only prescribe them in extreme situations. Commonly prescribed medications in this class include Prednisolone, Triamcinolone, and Prednisone.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements: Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the heat, pain, and swelling that often accompanies arthritis. Regular use of these supplements can also prevent further joint damage. Even if Rufus has no signs of inflammation, regular use of Omega 3s can benefit his skin and kidneys.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements: These supplements ensure that our pets’ joints stay nourished and lubricated throughout the treatment process. In addition to relieving stiffness and pain, these medications can lead to joint regeneration. When taken in conjunction with an NSAID, Glucosamine, and Chondroitin, help prevent severe kidney and liver damage
Surgery: In extreme cases, the vet may suggest invasive joint cleaning or a total joint replacement. These risky procedures should only be used as a last resort.
Even if medication is vital to managing arthritis, it’s not the only way to manage our pets’ pain. We can also:
Increase Their Activity Level: It’s important that we keep our dog or cat active. Push Rufus’ one-mile walk to a one-and-a-half mile one. And, if it’s our cat starting to look a little stiff-legged, it might be time to break out the laser beams. In more extreme cases, we can ask about therapy options.
Change Their Diet: If our arthritic pet is overweight, it’s high time we put them on a diet. In addition to cutting back their food intake, we can also look for a dry food that supports bone and joint health.
Choose The Right Supplements: EcoMobility™ Joint & Hip Complex for Dogs is a powerful combination of all-natural ingredients formulated to support healthy cartilage and joint function. It’s easy on the budget, tastes great to dogs, and doesn’t require any tricks, like pills in peanut butter. Simply mix the recommended dosage into Fido’s food each day.
Warm Them Up: Grandma doesn’t move so well in the cold, and neither do our arthritic pets. By moving our pet’s bed closer to the heater, we can help to ease their pain.
Give Them Massages: We should take some time out of every day to rub and manipulate our pet’s ailing joints. If we can’t find a good place to start, we can look up some pet massage tutorials on YouTube.
Change Our Homes: Dogs and cats with arthritis may have a tough time reaching their favorite sleeping spots. Make their lives more comfortable by bringing in pet store ramps, lowering stairs, and removing environmental obstacles. We also need to make sure that their food bowls are within easy reach.
Knowing that our fur-babies will spend the rest of their lives in pain is heart breaking. As we leave that vet’s office, we likely do so with a handful of pills and a heavy heart. As outlined above, however, arthritis should not prevent our pets from living a long, fruitful live. While diet and exercise can help alleviate symptoms after they develop, we can stave off the disease by promoting an active lifestyle and supplementing for prevention and management of pain, such as with EcoMobility™ Joint & Hip Complex for Dogs. When it comes to being a model pet guardian, proactiveness always trumps reactiveness.