Pained to the bone

A dog suddenly refuses to go up the stairs, or he withdraws from playing, no longer fit for games. These could be indications of arthritis, a chronic joint disease. Most animals will suffer in silence, but the pain puts them under permanent stress. This leads to further consequences for the health and behaviour of an animal, as the specialists at Maxi Zoo know.

Joint wear is a typical age-related illness, as with us humans. It can set in due to abrasion or be induced or triggered by other factors such as a birth defect, a growth deficiency, an injury or a bacterial infection. Arthritis can thus affect young animals but quadrupeds mainly suffer from it in their old age. The knee, and hip joints and the spine can be affected.

What happens with arthritis?

Physicians talk of arthritis where the disease of a joint is chronic. That means the cause of the arthritis triggers a process whereby the body attempts to defend itself against the damage to one or more joints. Joints link bones together to make us flexible. The articular cartilage between the ends of the bones makes a vital contribution to this because it acts as a buffer against pressures and impacts. If an injury occurs in this area, inflammation is induced and a so-called “reactive effusion” (bruising) is formed. As a consequence this vital joint cartilage degrades and the organism tries to compensate for the missing buffer by forming new bone tissue. The affected joint is now permanently damaged and can only cause pain when pressure is put on it.

A sign of arthritis?

If the disease is chronic, this manifests itself in cats and dogs in their behaviour. It will scarcely be that your pet draws attention to itself by making noises. Dogs with arthritis often exhibit “start-up problems” when they stand up, they find it difficult getting on to all four legs. Also, if he limps after longer walkies or when playing or “favours” a back leg then these symptoms must be taken seriously. Often dogs will point blank refuse to go up stairs or jump in the car.   If such indications occur, consult a vet straight away!

Easing the pain

Arthritis cannot be cured but you can minimise the pain and other complaints with it. Once the pain has been eliminated, the animal’s musculature can be built up again through movement. Overweight dogs or cats should be given relief with the help of a diet. Food supplements can be given to prevent cartilage deterioration and inflammation or during the acute stage.
Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.