Showing difficulty rising, a reluctance to walk, and limping are signs your cat or dog is probably experiencing joint pain due to aging or inherited conditions. A veterinarian-guided regimen of exercise, diet, supplements and medication can offer the joint pain relief your pet needs.
Once you get the go-ahead from your veterinarian, a controlled exercise regimen can help to improve your pet's muscle tone and lubricate sore, stiff joints. Walking your dog for short periods, swimming or playing fetch several times a day can help improve her strength and mobility. Regular intervals of planned indoor exercise will work to improve your cat's joint health. Brief intervals of active predator play, like a wild mouse hunt with his favorite stuffed toy, can be healthy for you both .
Veterinarian-approved dosages of supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can play an important part in most joint health regimens for dogs and cats. Available in both liquid and tablet form, these supplements help stimulate the production of proteins called proteoglycans, which work to maintain your pet's joints and connective tissues.
Steroids and NSAIDs
Prescribed pet steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone are effective in reducing the effects of inflamed joints. However, extended use of these medications can actually contribute to further joint breakdown. Discussion about related long-term risks and a monitoring plan by your veterinarian is necessary. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Rimadyl and Etogesic, can also be prescribed by veterinarians for joint swelling and discomfort. Like steroids, these medications require regulation and monitoring with your veterinarian to avoid bleeding disorders or possible organ failure.
The majority of American dogs and cats are fat, according to a 2012 veterinary survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. The APOP survey found that 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats (88.4 million pets) are considered overweight or obese by their veterinarian. Obesity is closely associated with joint problems, diseases and ultimately a decreased life span in dogs and cats. Feeding her a veterinarian-prescribed diet for weight loss, avoiding high-calorie treats and monitoring progress with regular weigh-ins, can help reduce the joint pain and extend the life of your pet friend.
- portrait of old husky dog image by sarit saliman from Fotolia.com