By DR BENJAMIN J GRAHAM
Does your ageing dog no longer chase, jump or bounce the way it used to? Does your cat prefer to stay at ground level rather than jump easily onto furniture like they once did? Is your pet a little slower out of bed, especially on cold mornings?
Arthritis affects many animals as they age; cartilage becomes worn, joint capsules stiffen and synovial fluid becomes less viscous. All of this adds up to a less mobile joint that is inflamed, causing discomfort and a loss of enthusiasm for exercise.
Degenerative joint disease is the irreversible result of wear and tear and inflammation in the joint. Management is the key and can be very effective if done right!
Fortunately, there is a myriad of options for us to choose from and combine to ensure we minimise pain and discomfort for our pets.
Dogs and cats even have options that are not even available to humans! From non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to polyglycans and dietary supplements, our pets can find a new lease of life with a few small aids.
A dietary supplement containing adequate daily chondroitin and glucosamine will aid in the production of good quality joint fluid and anti-inflammatory medications can cut short the self-perpetuating cycle of degenerative joint disease and arthritis.
A course of polyglycan medication involves four weekly visits to your vet for injections that can last up to 12 months.
A visit to your vet is always a good idea to discuss which options would best suit your pet, but there are also oral medications such as Antinol Rapid and Epiitalis that can be purchased over the counter.
Remember that ageing is a normal process, but discomfort and pain is treatable and manageable so your pet has the best quality of life possible and you can enjoy their company for as long as possible.
Dr Graham is from BVSC South Windsor www.bvsc.sydney.