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Osteoarthritis isn't just a debilitating chronic condition for humans -- it also afflicts dogs, cats and other pets. Degenerative joint pain and stiffness can ruin your companion's ability to enjoy life -- and in the worst case scenario, some animals are even put down as a result. The good news is that preventative care and prompt treatment at Solomons Veterinary Medical Center can help your pet have a healthier, more pain-free life.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the "capsule" of structures that form a joint lose their ability to protect and lubricate that joint. An acute injury, obesity, a chronic joint abnormality (such as hip dysplasia) or age-related wear and tear can cause the cartilage between the two bones to thin out and deteriorate. Eventually the bone ends start to rub together, causing severe pain and inflammation that can render your canine or feline friend completely immobile. Certain larger breeds are especially prone to osteoarthritis.
The veterinarians at our animal hospital are committed to helping animals in Solomons, Dowell, St. Mary's, St. Leonard, Port Republic, Broomes Island, Lusby, Prince Frederick, and California, MD avoid the debilitating pain and stiffness of advanced osteoarthritis whenever possible. Our preventative approach begins early in the animal's life by identifying breeds at elevated risk for the condition. We use a therapeutic laser unit that can be used to treat chronic pain and minimize need for medications. Regular wellness and x-rays enable our animal hospital to spot a joint deformation or injury as early as possible -- which allows taking immediate action to treat the problem through surgery, physical therapy or other means. For instance, young dogs who begin to show signs of encroaching hip dysplasia may undergo a procedure called a triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), a bone modification that allows for normal joint motion and reduces the odds of hip arthritis.
Pursuing wellness best practices throughout your pet's life can help minimize his encounters with osteoarthritis. If your pet injures a joint, make sure he receives immediate treatment so the damage won't lead to premature arthritis. If we determine that your animal is overweight, nutritional counseling, dietary adjustments and an exercise plan can help him shed the extra pounds, reducing joint wear. We can even advise you on ergonomic improvements you can make in your household to help keep your dog or cat from injuring himself (by having to leap from excessive heights, etc).
If your beloved pet does develop osteoarthritis, rest assured that there are steps we take to reduce his discomfort and improve his mobility. Our veterinarians may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, for instance, to help control his symptoms. Regular, gentle exercise to keep the joints moving can also be quite helpful. In extreme cases of canine or feline osteoarthritis, fusion or replacement surgery may be advisable.
Call (410) 326-4300 to schedule an appointment at our animal hospital. We can help your pet win against osteoarthritis!