Arthritis is a condition that you’re no doubt aware of in humans, but it is also a condition that affects our pets. In dogs the condition is quite common, affecting more than one in five. In cats the condition is equally as common but often goes unnoticed as they adapt extremely well to disabilities.
This painful degenerative disease can occur at any age or weight and at its worse, especially if left untreated, can cause chronic pain, movement difficulties and a decline in quality of life.
Most of the joints in the body depend on a layer of cartilage which acts as a cushion and provides a smooth surface so the adjoining bones can move freely over each other. This cartilage is assisted by the lubrication provided by synovial fluid, the oily liquid in joints. Changes in the joint occur when the cartilage is worn away faster than it is replaced, resulting in arthritis.
1. Good Nutrition
It has been proven that feeding a good quality food rich in EPA and omega 3 fatty acids, such as Hills Prescription Diet j/d, slows the cycle of deterioration and helps your pet retain more cartilage. Joint problems are also aggravated by obesity so it’s important for your pet to maintain a healthy physique.
Feeding a diet such as Hills J/D can also reduce the amount of pain killers your pet needs to take, resulting in lower costs and the reduced risk of problems occurring from the possible long term side effects of medications.
Over exertion will put an excessive strain on the joints, however not enough exercise leads to greater stiffness and muscle wastage. Gentle regular exercise such as short walks or swimming are best as this keeps the joints moving and the muscle in tone.
Ensuring that your pet has a well padded, warm bed away from draughts will help reduce the stress on the joints. Reducing the number of stairs or the steepness of the slope your pet must navigate to reach their resting place will also help to reduce discomfort.
4. Effective Medication
Treatment for arthritis will often include medications which protect, nourish and lubricate joints. There are many medications available for the treatment of arthritis, such as daily medication and weekly injections. If a good quality diet designed for the management of arthritis, such as Hills prescription Diet j/d, is not feed, nutritional supplements which promote cartilage formation and reduce inflammation in the joints are often recommended.