Osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that makes your dogs movement difficult and painful, osteoarthritis usually starts from middle age, However younger animals can also be affected. It has been shown in studies that 20% of dogs will suffer from this condition. It is much more common in larger breeds as excessive weight is carried on the joints. Cats can also suffer from this condition though they do not express there pain symptoms as readily as dogs.

Early warning signs of osteoarthritis:

   Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs and getting up after rest.

   An overall decrease in activity, especially play

   Resting more than usual

  "Bunny hopping" with the hind legs, rather than running normally

   Slow or stiff movements upon waking, after a rest, or in cold weather

  Beginning to limp

   Swollen joint

   Licking or biting at a joint

   Personality change – your pet no longer likes to be touched and may even become aggressive

   The sooner osteoarthritis is first diagnosed and treated, the better your pet』s quality of life will be.

What causes osteoarthritis?
There are many causes, but practically all can be grouped into two main categories:

1. Abnormal stress on normal joints
An injury that damages a joint
"Wear and tear": joints are subjected to repeated loads or stress
Obesity: an excessive load is put on joints
2. Normal stress on abnormal joints
Developmental defects that alter the shape or stability of a joint
Poor limb conformation, this is a genetic predisposition for example the hind legs of a chow chow are abnormally straight and this will place abnormal stress on the knee joint.  In Hong Kong we will most commonly see osteoarthritis in Golden Retrievers. The hip and knee joints are most commonly affected.
   

Therapy and control
1. Weight control
Controlling your pet's weight will lighten the load on arthritic joints and make it less difficult to move around. Just as for humans, weight loss for animals involves both a well-balanced, calorie-reduced diet and regular exercise. We will recommend a specific diet plan for your pet.

2. Exercise
Exercise is essential because it contributes to strengthening the muscles that support joints. Daily, moderate amounts of low-impact exercise such activities as short walks and swimming also improves joint mobility.

Anti-inflammatories these drugs combat inflammation in the joints, thus relieving pain, increasing mobility, and protecting the joint from further damage.  We will also provide you with nutritional supplements to help repair the damaged cartilage. Our trained nurses will also show you how to and how often to apply physiotherapy and massage to your pet.