Osteoarthritis or OA is the loss or reduction of viable articular cartilage. This means that the cartilage in the joints has worn down or become damaged to the point of limited self-healing. The damage of the cartilage results in a loss of joint fluid and thus creates less lubrication for the joints to move freely. When this occurs it causes the bones to rub against each other, which can become painful for your pet. There are options in treating OA, such as: rehabilitation, nutrition management, and medications. These three things are the most commonly used and typically they require a combination of the three to achieve success.
Rehabilitation can be done in many different forms. Hydrotherapy is one of the more commonly used methods. Hydrotherapy allows your pet to work on its range of motion with minimal weight-bearing. Doing hydrotherapy, it allows the therapist to adjust the level of resistance for your pet as an individual. This gives them the ability to adjust as their OA progresses. Through regular sessions, it has been shown to increase the quality of range of motion and reduce the pain associated with OA.
The use of nutrition in helping our pets with Osteoarthritis has become a big factor in their daily lives. Choosing a food that is made to support joint health or choosing food to help your pet lose weight is going to be critical in the overall quality of life. If your pet is overweight and dealing with OA, it is important to consult with your doctor about how much weight your pet may need to lose. Your pet will be putting less stress on their joints if they are at an ideal weight. There are options for food that apply joint health and weight management. By talking to your Veterinarian, they can give you the best option for your pet’s specific needs.
Finally, medication may be needed in the treatment of OA. Often times steroids are used to help reduce inflammation. By reducing the inflammation we are able to give your pet some relief from some of the pain associated with OA. When using an anti-inflammatory medication in conjunction with rehabilitation, and nutritional management it is possible to help reduce your pets pain and increase their quality of life. We strive to do anything we can to help your pet live their best life.
Utah Veterinary Hospital
161 E 30 N American Fork, UT 84003