Growing Older But Not Up: Arthritis in Pets
I am a big boi and us larger breeds are cursed with the aches and pains as we get older. Kitty friends and my purse sized friends are affected too….arthritis is so common in us pets. I’ll bark at you about it today so you know what to ask your humans for! They would want to know if your joints hurt and how to help you.
How do you know if your best friend is in pain?
Us doggos are pretty stoic when it comes to showing pain….but cats take it up another level. Those guys are so tough they never say anything. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. Next to dental pain, joint pain is the next most common thing we cant tell you about. We may seem to just be “slowing down”. Other more obvious signs are less interest in walkies, not jumping, avoiding stairs, weakness, trembling, stiffness when getting up and even behavioral changes (I get grumpy when things hurt). My kitty frens are so tough. I asked Karen and she just swatted me on the snoot. So, I asked around and most common are not jumping onto usual places, sleeping more, changes in grooming habits (esp matted and scurfy coats), aggression towards other pets or humans, and changes in litter box routines.
I am only 3, so I am all about the prevention right now. For us teenagers, there are quite a few things to do now to help when we start getting those distinguished gray muzzles. If you were purpose bred, hopefully your breeders were those awesome folks that test hips and elbows and give puppies the best shot at healthy joints. I have even had mine done and am all certified by the OFA. Apparently that stands for orthopedic foundation for animals, but I dunno….I do know I got a lot of xrays about 50 treats. It was awesome.
Keep yourself slim and trim my friends. It totally helps your ball fetching skills and luck with the ladies, AND will keep your joints in better shape as your age. This is me…. up in the gym, workin’ on my fitness…I know you just sang that. Your human should be able to feel your ribs fairly easily. If they are pushin’ in your cushion to do that….its time for a weight loss plan. More exercise and lower calorie foods are the mainstays but there are lot of things your doctor can do to help! Tell your human to ask.
For us strappin’ big breeds….starting joint supplements earlier and staying on foods made for large breeds is a great idea.
So if you have been showing these signs your human needs to bring you in to see me! A good physical exam and likely xrays will see if its arthritis, how bad, and what joints are affected. There are some other badness that cause similar signs, especially in big dogs, but I refuse to say those dirty words.
But…its likely going to happen to almost all of us. But there is so much the dogtor can do to help. Where I work at PetVet365, the docs usually start with a more natural approach. Joint supplements (like Osteo), high quality omega 3 supplements, and even specific CBD sources as first line of defense. Next up is some high tech stuff!
Lasers baby, Lasers. Therapy laser uses light frequency to change the way cells process energy and it greatly reduces pain and inflammation. Its completely pain free and I see my friends getting treats, many many treats, including my Frosty Paw stash while they get theirs. Its quick and just a time a week can make a huge difference in how we feel.
To get even more high tech we can bork about PRP (platelet rich plasma) and stem cells. I have my stem cells banked up in case I need them later and my sister had PRP for her ACL tear. Its great because it uses our own bodies cells to take down pain and inflammation. It’s a lot of science for a 3 year old dog to explain so heres a cool video:
As things progress, there are lots of safe pain and anti-inflammatory combinations that can make us feel great. Some of them require some bloodwork to make sure they agree with our particular bodies. There also some REALLY cool things coming down the research pipeline that should be available soon. The bestest news is we don’t have to hurt. We can keep fetching, swimming, jumping on our perches and licking our butts comfortably.