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Posted on 04-04-2016
Osteoarthritis affects dogs and cats much like the way it affects humans. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis occurs due to chronic inflammation and gradual wearing down of bone and cartilage in the joints. The hip and elbow joints are most commonly affected. Older animals and certain animal breeds, especially larger dogs, are more prone to developing osteoarthritis. The exact cause is not always known, but may include past physical trauma, abnormal wear and tear on joints (including increased strain caused by overweight and obesity), malnutrition, and congenital or developmental abnormalities (e.g., hip dysplasia).
Osteoarthritis, especially in later stages, can be very painful. Common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
To reduce your pet's risk of osteoarthritis, the right kind of exercise and nutrition is critical. This helps to ensure your pet's ideal weight because making sure your pet isn't overweight is a major preventative and pain reducing factor for it reduces the risk of inflammation in your pet's body. It's important to take your pet to the veterinarian regularly for wellness exams, since this is the best way to ensure early detection and treatment. Your veterinarian can give you helpful tips that are specific to your animal's breed. Osteoarthritis is not curable, but is treatable with a combination of medications, supplements, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Sadly, many dogs are put down due to hip injuries caused by osteoarthritis. Fortunately, with the right treatment, it is possible for animals with osteoarthritis to lead long and comfortable lives.
Whether your home includes cats or dogs, the team at Solomons Veterinary Medical Center wants to help you keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life! To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, call today at (410) 326-4300.
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