Helping Older Pets Get Past The Pain Of Arthritis.

Arthritis causes a vicious pain cycle in pets that can be broken through a multimodal approach.
By: Maggie Lump
May 6, 2009 - PRLog -- As our pets get older, they experience the same trials and tribulations that we do: stiff joints, sore muscles, and arthritic changes.  When our pets first experience pain associated with arthritis, they may alter their posture and activity level slightly to avoid the pain the best way that they can.  This, in turn, causes added stress to other joints and muscles in the body to compensate for the initial injury.  After a while, the parts of the body that are compensating to prevent the initial pain begin to wear out or become stiff themselves, causing more pain or discomfort.

Typically, our pets do not show signs of this pain until this cycle has been in full swing for some time.  That's when we begin to see our pets have difficulty doing normal daily tasks, such as going up or down stairs,  jumping up onto the couch,  having to lay down while eating or drinking, or a decrease in playfulness.  Changes in mood or behavior such as snapping, biting or growling may also be noted in an otherwise friendly and docile pet.

This reluctance to maintain normal activity leads to a more sedentary lifestyle because it simply hurts to move.  However, the best cure is often exactly what our pet does not wish to do, which is keep active.  We can break the vicious cycle by discussing with our veterinarian how to maximize the benefits from such treatment options as:

Pain Medications:
This includes traditional medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, as well as homeopathic herbal mixtures.  Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian any over-the-counter remedies you may be giving your pet, as some may cause harmful interactions or negate the effects of the medications they prescribe.

Joint Supplements:
Utilize products that are available through your veterinarian such as chondroprotectants, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and essential fatty acids.  These products serve to protect any remaining cartilage and support overall joint health.

Physical Rehabilitation Program:
Structured exercise programs that are designed to slowly return your pet to a more normal level of activity.  Your pet may be introduced to activities such as swimming or controlled low-impact exercises to stimulate inactive muscles and promote strengthening and growth.

Well-balanced Diet:
It is important to feed a high quality, balanced diet to ensure the body is receiving the nutrients it needs.  Your veterinarian or animal rehabilitation provider can help you determine the appropriate diet and amount to feed for your pet's lifestyle.  Over feeding adds extra calories that will pack on added pounds, leading to more stress on already stressed joints.

Alternative Therapy:
Massage therapy, homeopathic treatments, acupuncture, chiropractic care, reiki, low-level laser therapy, and a host of others are all available for pets.  Ask your veterinarian or animal rehabilitation provider if they perform these treatments, or recommend any knowledgeable pet practitioners in these fields.

Home Exercise Program:
A home exercise routine can be developed with the help of your veterinarian and animal rehabilitation provider to maximize strength and increase endurance for your pet.  This requires dedicated owners who are willing to consistently carry out the prescribed diet and exercise plan.

Implementing the above items, with the help of your veterinarian, will help develop a comprehensive and balanced plan of attack to end the pain cycle and improve your pet's quality of life.

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A full-service boarding and rehabilitation center in West Lafayette, IN. Daycare services available. Specializing in canine and feline physical rehabilitation and weight loss services offered by veterinary referral. Please visit
Source:Maggie Lump
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Industry:Pets, Medical, Family
Location:West Lafayette - Indiana - United States
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