Mobility can be affected by several conditions, here we focus on the most common cause, arthritis.
Just like humans, animals’ joints change as they get older. It’s essential we understand these changes to the joints and develop an appropriate treatment plan to help.
Changes to the joint:
Does your dog have difficulty rising after resting? Are they reluctant to run, jump and play? Are they sleeping more, slowing down on walks or are more irritable that usual?
As an owner, you are an expert in your dog’s behaviour. You can help identify signs and assess how treatment is working by learning to spot the signs associated with chronic pain, particularly as dogs rarely vocalise pain.
Commonly recognised signs:
More subtle signs:
Mobility problems affect many dogs, 20% in dogs over 1 year old, and this rate significantly increases when a dog is over 6 years old.
Fortunately, we have a good understanding of this condition and how to manage mobility issues. We recommend a range of methods to help support your dogs joints!
*Johnson JA,Austin C, BreurGJ. Incidence of canine appendicular musculoskeletal disorders in 16veterinary teaching hospitals from 1980 through 1989.Vet CompOrthop Trauma 7:56-69, 1994.
‘Chronic’ pain is not the same as ‘acute’ pain, the challenge is that overtime the body’s perception of the pain increases, in effect it becomes more sensitive to arthritic pain. Your vet is the best person to advise on pain control medications.
The initial aim is to reduce the level of discomfort so the body can regain its ‘normal’ response. This is only one part (albeit an important one) of the solution known as the ‘multi-modal’ approach to Osteoarthritis treatment
There are a huge range of nutritional supplements aimed at maintaining healthy joints. To ensure you give your pet pooch the best, here is a quick check list of what to look for when choosing a product that’s right for your dog:
Simple steps in the home can make a huge difference in how comfortable your dog is in day to day life. Consider making the following changes:
Most of these therapies require a vet to refer you or they may offer the services themselves. Once you have received expert advice you can often carryout simple things at home to provide ongoing support as your dog ages.
There are lots of ways you can support your pet’s mobility, many are the same ways you would manage aches and strains yourself from physiotherapy, massage techniques, hydrotherapy, laser therapy and acupuncture.
Osteoarthritis in dogs is a complex degenerative disease, but there are many things you can do to maintain a happy health life for your dog. No one thing will act as a cure, but rather several things together add up to an improvement in their quality of life. Your dog is unique and how it responds to each treatment will differ.
By carefully observing changes in your dogs quality of life you can decide if things need changing, or whether what you are trying is working.
The steps suggested in this presentation can be explored, and many vets offer expert advice on ‘multi-modal’ treatment.
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