Arthritis usually occurs in the older dog and is caused by “wear and tear” in the joints. It can be painful as the nerve endings become exposed and there can be stiffness on movement.
What signs will I see?
You may notice your dog develops a limp or holds up a paw – especially after a long walk. You may also notice a stiffness,especially early in the mornings or during damp or cold weather. He/she may slip on wooden or tiled floors. He may lick his paws even if he has never done this before.
What treatments are available?
There are 3 main ways to treat arthritis. Our veterinary surgeon will discuss these and help to decide on which is most suitable for your pet.
- For dogs with a small amount of pain, cartrophen injections (one given weekly for 4 consecutive weeks) may be helpful. This treatment works on the joint itself and gives some pain relief.
- For dogs who are feeling more pain, our veterinary. The Surgeon may recommend a painkiller such as Metacam (this is a liquid treatment which can be given in food) or Norocarp tablets. These treatments will reduce the pain but may have some long term side effects. In some dogs it may be advisable to have a blood sample taken (in a private veterinary practice) to check on the animals general health before beginning this treatment.
- Joint supplements such as cod-liver oil, ArthriAid and Pedigree care treats can also be included in your dog’s diet.
Practical Advice on Helping your Dog at Home
Exercise patterns should be changed. Many short daily walks will be of more benefit than one long walk each day. This will depend on your pet’s ability and usually ranges from 10 – 20 minutes, up to 4 times each day.
- Swimming can be helpful, when not too cold
- Stairs should be off limit and jumping discouraged
- A soft bed and good footing on slippery floors e.g a non-slip mat
- You may need to raise your pet’s water and food bowls to allow him to reach with ease. (Argos has a stand which will allow you to do this)