I think most people know the basic 'How To's' for helping OA pets. With Cameron Black BVMS MVetSci PhD MRCVS we explore what more can be done.
From prevention and early diagnosis to long-term management. It has been estimated that up to half of all dogs and cats will be affected by osteoarthritis at some point in their lives.
As a pet owner being privy to specialist advice is priceless in fighting the silent progression of such an insidious condition. So, Cameron it's over to you.
In fact, find out as much as you can to know where your new family member came from! Ask yourself are they at risk? Large or giant breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers are all high-risk breeds.
We all too often have people present their pets to clinic too late. The main reason for which is a lack of knowledge around pain. People understandably want to hope for the best, but with OA in particular it’s vital those early signs are noted and treated to stop it progressing aggressively.
Understanding what constitutes appropriate exercise; knowing when to, how to and what type of exercise is crucial. Many dog owners in particular over stress their dog’s joints by allowing them to run at too early an age. Or even worse by walking them until tired. Every breed of animal need exercise appropriate to both their breed and age. Just because your animal can run for two hours straight (if you let them) does not mean they should.
Use supplements to be pre-emptive. They have a role importantly as a preventative. With typical osteoarthritis we’re are attempting to ameliorate the pro-inflammatory and destructive changes, aiming to promote healthier balanced joint health and turnover. Supplements have an important role in supporting this activity within the body. This is particularly true if your furry friend is known to be at-risk. Your vet will be able to talk more about what that could like. Always make sure to consult your vet on the best course of action for your pet.
Educate yourself on pain and it's impact to mobility and quality of life. Many pet owners actually don’t know when their pets are in pain or impacted by mobility concerns. We often have painful pets brought in and although the family knows there’s something wrong, they may not have appreciated the link to joint/muscle pain and quality of life. It is very unusual for a limping animal not to be in pain.
Huge thanks to Cameron for taking the time to put together such a vital collection of tips and adjustments, that we as pet owners can follow in order to improve the quality of life of our loved ones.
Cameron Black BVMS MVetSci PhD MRCVS, is a clinical research veterinarian, linking research and development of novel therapeutics in orthopaedic and neurological surgery groups.
Having graduated from Glasgow Vet School in 2008, Cameron worked as a GP for four years before entering research to pursue an interest in stem call biology and regenerative medicine.