Arthritis in dogs and cats
Over the years, our pets become increasingly slower; this causes concern among pet owners. Such stiffness occurs in many dogs and cats as they reach adulthood. Joint inflammation or arthritis is a very common condition, especially among medium to large dog breeds and in overweight pets. Below you will learn more about arthritis and how to treat it.
At first the signs of arthritis are not immediately noticeable. The dog gets up a little slower in the morning and the cat doesn’t jump as high as before. Eventually we find out that our pet is having trouble moving. We soon notice that our pet feels pain when walking, jumping or sitting. It hurts when you realize that your pet may have arthritis. Fortunately, this is a condition that does not necessarily mean a lower quality of life. There are various preparations, therapies, special diets and ways to adjust the living environment and help our four-legged friend enjoy life.
Problems that lead to joint inflammation – arthritis – can start very early, but we don’t notice them right away. The most common problem pets have is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease. The condition is more or less expressed in most older dogs and cats. With age, the articular cartilage begins to gradually deteriorate, leaving bones to rub up against each other. As the condition progresses, it starts to cause damage to the bone tissue.
How do we recognize arthritis?
Signs of mobility issues in cats:
- less active,
- becomes more solitary and less social,
- dislikes jumping,
- irregular use of its toilet,
- has trouble moving or even limps.
Signs of mobility issues in dogs:
- problems with getting up after rest,
- hesitates to walk on stairs,
- lags behind, gets tired faster on walks,
- prefers to lie down, does not like to stand or sit,
- when touching the affected area, the animal whimpers, growls or even snaps.
What to do when suspecting arthritis?
Visit a vet
The most important step we need to take when suspecting arthritis is to provide a proper diagnosis. So we should leave the decision about the health of our pet to a veterinarian. The examination will determine which type of arthritis is involved and which parts of the body are affected.
Maintaining proper weight
The most important task is to maintain weight. Unfortunately, many animals with arthritis are overweight, which puts additional stress on their joints. When your pet is overweight, it’s important that you start gradually reducing the daily calorie consumption.
Daily physical activity is crucial, you just need to adjust the type of exercise and duration. Experts advise swimming. Allow your pet to swim in properly heated water. There are several ramps available that help arthritic animals get into the car. And for cats we have a variety of climbers, scratchers, laser games or hunting for different toys.
Give them a comfortable bed
Animals that have arthritis should not be exposed to cold and moisture, so it’s important to provide them with a soft, warm and large bed, and make sure it’s not exposed to draughts. We also allow outdoor dogs to spend the coldest and wettest days in warm and dry conditions.
Food supplements for arthritis
The following supplements may be added to food if necessary: glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, fish or krill oil rich in unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, even turmeric. Recently, there’s been a lot of talk and research of active substances of industrial hemp. Hemp substances help improve animal’s health in many different areas; inflammation, anxiety and depression, arthritis, nervousness and restlessness, hyperactivity, diabetes, diarrhea, bad breath, allergies, hair loss, appetite control, digestive problems, continuous barking, epilepsy and so much more. They also protect against viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Doctors have successfully treated rheumatoid arthritis with CBD oil, which relieves inflammation and pain and stimulates the immune system. The study was conducted in 2006; many positive effects were observed in patients who had taken CBD drops for 5 weeks.
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Consumption of CBD oil (or THC-free industrial hemp resin) has proven to be very positive in the treatment of arthritis. According to research, cannabidiol helps reduce pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis and other types of joint pain caused by an inflammatory condition.