How can you tell if your dog or cat has arthritis?

Dogs and pets can get arthritis

Stiff joints and aches and pains are problems that many of us suffer from as we age. Dogs and other pets also suffer similar effects of ageing. 

Arthritis is the name given to swelling or inflammation of the joints. Dogs in particular can suffer badly with aches and pains, common problem areas for dogs are legs, hips and back. Also swollen paws and ankle joints can make walking and running painful. 

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What causes arthritis in dogs and other pets?

Arthritis in dogs and other pets is largely the result of ageing and wear and tear on bones, joints and cartilage. It can be made worse by things like damp and cold weather, issues with food intolerances and in some cases as a symptom of other underlying illness.

How can I tell if my dog or cat has arthritis?

If you have older pets and have noticed they are struggling to get up, or they have become slower when walking and less energetic, the chances are they are suffering from arthritis or rheumatic conditions due to old age. Arthritis  is often worse first thing in the morning when your pets have been sleeping in a fixed position for a long period, they may find it hard to stand or get up, they could be stiff and less able to walk freely. Similarly in the evening, especially if they have been active during the day, their joints are likely to be more inflamed and ache, so they will probably want to rest or sleep. 

How is arthritis diagnosed in dogs and other pets?

If you suspect your pets have arthritis, you should take them along to your vet for assessment. Your vet can visually check joints and use some mild manipulation to see if there are issues with movement and flexibility. Blood tests can be done if it is not immediately obvious, these will check inflammation levels but can also be used to rule out conditions and disease which might be causing pain, swelling or other underlying problems.

Symptoms to look out for

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Lameness in one or more legs
  • Reduced activity, less willing or able to climbing steps, struggles to stand or walk.

What treatments are available for pets with arthritis?

There are numerous treatments for arthritis and rheumatism in pets. Dogs with arthritis can be prescribed NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs), in the same way these are prescribed for humans, these drugs can reduce inflammation, swelling and reduce pain levels. However as with humans prolonged use of NSAIDs can cause issues with the stomach and gut which can lead to other complications.

Are there natural treatments for pets with Arthritis or rheumatism?

There are a number of natural and plant based treatments specially developed for treating pets with  arthritis and rheumatism, it is important to remember some supplements are unsuitable for some pets, typically dogs and cats can take many supplements humans can but other pets these can be extremely harmful so it is always important to check suitability with your vet!

Also dosage in pets is usually dependent on their weight so it is vitally important you check and adhere to the guidance on the recommended dosage instructions. Natural treatments for inflammation and arthritis in pets include: 

  •  CBD (Cannabidiol) Cannabis Oils – Is currently the hot new natural treatment in human circles. It is thought that CBD oils possibly also have beneficial effects for pets with inflammation.

  • Turmeric Curcumin & Ginger – These two root herbs are extremely popular, they  are used daily by a growing number of humans, the anti inflammatory effects of turmeric and ginger are also likely to have an effect in naturally lowering the inflammation in pets.

  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin – Are natural complex sugars, the two are powerful anti-inflammatories. It is thought that they play an essential role in the maintenance and regeneration of healthy cartilage. Lower doses can be given to dogs and sometimes cats to combat the effects of rheumatic disorders and arthritis. Together they can help prolong the life of joints and cartilage, thus reducing inflammation.

  • Glucosamine & Chondroitin – Are natural complex sugars, the two are powerful anti-inflammatories. It is thought that they play an essential role in the maintenance and regeneration of healthy cartilage. Lower doses can be given to dogs and sometimes cats to combat the effects of rheumatic disorders and arthritis. Together they can help prolong the life of joints and cartilage, thus reducing inflammation.

  • Fatty Acids (OMEGA Oils) – 3, 6, 9 OMEGA oils are known to have inflammation fighting properties.

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