All pets when they get older seem to get abit stiff and sore, slower to rise in the mornings, less willing to go on a long walk or happy to go on a longer walk or run and then struggle with their legs for 2-3 days afterwards.
This is likely the result of arthritis within the joints. Arthritis is caused by the degeneration of cartilage,the smooth lining at the end of the bones,within the joint. Healthy cartilage allows the ends of the bone slide over each other smoothly. Once the cartilage is no longer smooth and slippery as the joints movethe ends of the bones grind against one another. This causes inflammation in thejoint, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Now many people may think that justbecause the dog isn't crying in pain that this isn't painful for them. This isn't thecase often they have been living with the discomfort for so long they just accept this as part of there daily life, also it is unlikely to be a sharp stabbing pain butmore likely a consent dull ache.
Unfortunately there is no medical curefor arthritis, but there are things we can do to help with general day to day mobility.
-The most important thing may be to take it easy, reducing the length of exercise and increasing the frequency, so three 30minute walks as apposed to one 2 hourwalk.
-Swimming allows good qualityexercise whilst reducing the impact onjoints.
-Weight loss is always important,for every ½ kg of weight loss there is a1kg reduction of strain across the major joints.
Joint supplements can be of great help when managing the problem longterm these can either be included withinthe diet itself or as additional supplements. Joint supplements include glucosamine, condrotin, essential fattyacids(EFA's). These make up the buildingblocks to the cartilage, so can help to maintain the remaining cartilage in the best possible quality.
EFAs also have an anti-inflammatory effect on the joint reducing the effects of the arthritis and making the animal more comfortable.
If all of the above doesn't result in a more comfortable free moving animal then the use of anti-inflammatory drugs may be considered, These are often used intermittently early on for those really painful days but as time goes the frequency of use may need go up. There are other pain reliving drugs that may be advised if needed.
If you feel your animal is having trouble with arthritis would would likle to discuss more some of the things mentioned above please contact us at grey abbey for further information.