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Arthritis is a common problem, not only in geriatric pets but also in animals with joint injuries, inflammatory diseases and other health issues. But this debilitating condition doesn't have to ruin your pet's quality of life. Here at Fort Garry Veterinary Hospital, your veterinarian in Winnipeg (Dr. Mander or Dr. Weebadda) can prescribe pain management strategies and administer effective treatment for arthritis.
The term "arthritis" refers broadly to many different types of chronic joint pain and stiffness. The most common variety, osteoarthritis, occurs when the cushioning cartilage inside a joint wears out and breaks down, allowing the bone ends to rub painfully against each other. This may be a natural consequence of wear and tear over many years, or it may be associated with another joint problem such as hip/elbow dysplasia or CCL (cranial cruciate ligament) disease that makes the joint unstable. Larger and more active breeds may be especially prone to osteoarthritis. Injuries and infections can also lead to arthritis in a joint. It's even possible for a pet to experience arthritis caused by an auto-immune reaction (immune-mediated polyarthritis), cancer or other systemic conditions.
Signs of arthritis in pets may be quite subtle at first -- a dog may simply appear more cautious about standing up, sitting down or negotiating stairs, while a cat may instinctively try to hide any signs of distress. As the condition progresses, however, your pet may walk more slowly, move more stiffly, limp, avoid any physical challenges and vocalize in response to pain. You may also notice muscle wasting in the affected limbs.
If your pet is showing any of the telltale signs of arthritis, bring him to Fort Garry Hospital for evaluation. We can observe his gait, palpate the joints and perform X-rays to see exactly where (and how severe) a case of arthritis may be occurring. We can then put together a pain management program with strategies such as:
NSAIDs - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, when prescribed with the proper care, can safely relieve or reduce mild cases of arthritis pain and stiffness.
Nutritional supplementation - Certain foods or nutritional supplements such as turmeric, fish oil, ginger and glucosamine/chondroitin can help relieve joint inflammation naturally.
Corticosteroids - Cases of arthritis that don't respond to NSAIDs may require corticosteroid medications such as prednisone.
Surgery - Advanced arthritis may be most effectively treated with surgery. Arthoscopic surgery can remove pieces of bone of cartilage that are making the pain worse. Fusion surgery can hold the bones of a joint in place permanently to prevent friction.
Your pet can enjoy a happier, more mobile and more comfortable life with the right treatment for arthritis. Call for Garry Veterinary Hospital today to schedule an evaluation with your trusted veterinarian in Winnipeg!