What is arthritis & does it occur in pets? By definition, arthritis means inflammation of a joint. It is very common in pets for a variety of reasons.
Is arthritis curable in pets? Probably manageable is a better term. Cure could be considered in the event of a joint that is replaced with a synthetic joint. Because in these procedures the diseased joint is removed, the procedure could be considered as curative.
What causes arthritis in pet’s? As in humans, there are many causes: injuries, infections, autoimmune processes, obesity. Anything which causes damage to joint tissues can lead to arthritis.
What are some signs that my pet might have arthritis? Pain, reluctance to move, go up steps, jump in the car, etc early on signs may be more subtle. As the disease progresses, it tends to be more continuous.
What are the best drugs to treat arthritis? It depends. Many of the newer drugs for arthritis can lead to improved clinical signs (note, we did not say “cure”). However, as with most drugs, side effects can occur. That’s why blood tests must be done when patients are placed on these drugs to monitor organ system function.
Many of the most effective treatments may not involve drugs. New modalities such as underwater treadmills, e-stim, etc are showing improved potential. Along these lines, one of the best modalities is weight control. Every extra pound that isn’t needed puts undue stress on joints that may already have disease. Many specially formulated digests can aid pet owners in efforts to control weight.
What should I do if I suspect my pet has arthritis? Contact your DVM. You may need to seek special help like Dr. Jurgena & his team who have had special training in rehabilitation medicine. Also, many of our technicians have received advanced training in how proper diets can be an asset in treating arthritis. Remember, you can make a difference.