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Osteoarthritis in dogs and cats— painful, debilitating and treatable

We all have heard of “arthritis” and most owners are aware that arthritis means “inflammation of the joint”. Once the degeneration goes too far it involves the bones around the joint and is now called Osteoarthritis. Cartilage has no feeling.

The body needs to move in a way that will not cause pain or discomfort (bones have lots of feeling – ask anyone who has broken a bone). To minimise pain, to allow for frictionless movement, to stop heat that would cause destruction of the bone structure – nature has placed cartilage around the end of each bone, then put in oil between the two ends and finally placed a capsule around the joint to stop the oil leaking out. When we place all this together, we call it a “joint”.

Now cartilage has NO nerve fibres –otherwise every time we jumped or ran etc., we would be in lot of pain.

Dog jointsThis lack of nerve fibres means we can do a lot of damage to our cartilages BEFORE we know about it. This fact is REALLY important because it means by the time we know there is a problem, then the joint has already undergone some serious degeneration. So, anything that leads to destruction or changes of structure of the cartilage, changes the consistence of the oil or changes the structure of the joint capsule can lead to arthritis.

The major causes of this degeneration are as followsLarge breeds suffer earlier

  1.  Genetics – dogs and cats born with abnormalities of the joint or associated structures such as hip dysplasia, bent bones, abnormal ligament structures etc.
  2. Injuries such as dislocations, fractures, long term exercise that involves running or jumping etc.
  3. Obesity – heavier weights to carry via the joints then what they were designed to handle.
  4. Age – basically structural changes due to ageing and that means the cartilage and the associated structures cannot handle the use and abuse of the joints.

When does arthritis start? – it has been recognised that large breeds, such the German Shepard, start to develop arthritis in their major joints by the age of 18 months!

Nearly all dogs and cats have some form of arthritis by the time they are 8 years of age.

What do we recommend?

  • For severe cases—we recommend Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory and possible x-rays
  • For moderate cases—we HIGHLY recommend the Cartrophen injections
  • For less severe cases—we recommend 4cyte (an oral product).

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