Tag Archives: arthritis

Recognizing and treating Feline Arthritis

Many of our older cats are silently suffering from arthritis.
Cats are very good at hiding when they are in pain, therefore, the visible signs of arthritis are very subtle.
Even just a slight change in the way they are jumping might be the only clue we are given.

Cats with elbow pain may extend a leg and hesitate before jumping down, they often land with a thud and pause before walking away.
Cats with knee pain will use creative ways to avoid jumping up high – they may go via a chair to get to the table, or avoid heights all together. You may notice them scrambling to get up, or asking to be lifted.
Some cats will get long nails from inactivity and may need them trimmed more frequently. Other cats will get matted fur, because it hurts them to turn around and groom. You may even notice your cat sleeping more often.

If you have noticed any of these signs there are many options available to help make your cat more comfortable.

Things we can do at home:
-Warm bedding in an easy to access location
-Using ramps and steps to ensure access to your cats’ favourite resting places
-Using litter trays with lower sides to allow ease of entry
-Providing food/water at floor level or slightly raised

Are there any medications?
Lots of cats thrive when given medical treatments for their arthritis. There are many options that we can use; they range from dietary supplements, to liquid anti-inflammatory given in the food, to creams you can put on your cats ear. So even if your cat is difficult to tablet there are plenty of choices.

Arthritis in pets

With the weather cooling down, many of our older pets are feeling the strain.Attentive Senior Dog

Arthritis is quite common in older animals and is exacerbated by cool, humid weather. Being overweight or having had joint surgery at some point in their life are recognised risk factors. Large breed dogs often develop arthritis at an earlier age than smaller breeds. The impact of arthritis on a pet’s quality of life can be significant, but there are management strategies available. Continue reading Arthritis in pets

Kitty Dementia

Dementia, also known as feline cognitive dysfunction, is an age-related disorder of brain function causing multiple behaviour changes.

In cats the behaviour changes include:

  • Yowling excessively and inappropriately
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box and around the house
  • Disorientation and aimless wandering
  • Restlessness
  • Changes in interaction with people or other pets such as aggression, irritability and clinginess
  • Erratic sleeping behaviour: waking, pacing or yowling at night, sleeping less at night and more during the day
  • Decreased grooming

Some diseases mimic cognitive dysfunction. These include hyperthyroidism, brain tumours, viral diseases, high blood pressure, chronic pain, arthritis, diabetes, and urinary tract infections. Many of these diseases exacerbate the behaviour changes of cognitive dysfunction, too, so we must check for and/or treat them before we confirm a diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction.

Some commonly used drugs such as prednisolone and valium also reduce brain function. Alternatives that reduce decline are often available.

Therapies

1. Diet: Anti-oxidants delay and treat dementia. Antioxidants include Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Alpha-lipoic acid, L-carnitine and beta-carotene. Fruits and vegetables contain many of these.

Omega 3 fatty acids as found in fish oil or food supplements such as Nutricoat also help.

2. Physical therapy and environmental enrichment: Stimulate brain function and delay the onset of dementia with environmental enrichment and games. Try scattering or hiding food or catnip around the house, provide toys that require batting or rolling to release food, give opportunities for climbing, perching and exploring, trail ribbon or feathers along. Petting, brushing and massage stimulate the nerves and brains of old cats, too.

3. Your vet may prescribe medications to reduce inflammation, enhance memory or improve brain function.

Herbal treatment

Pet owners who prefer herbal treatments or have animals with chronic problems will be pleased to hear that  animal herbalist Nicki Froescheis, who is a German-trained veterinarian, has moved to Canberra. Nicki has European postgraduate training in herbal treatment for pets.

Nicki says that herbal treatment is useful for chronic diseases such as arthritis, bladder inflammation, palliative treatment for cancers, immune disorders, dementia and skin diseases as well as many other problems. Herbs are not much help in life threatening conditions or problems which come on suddenly.

Nicki assesses each individual patient and tailors the herb formula accordingly. Appointments can be made with Nicki on 0404 127 973 and she will arrange to meet you at Hall Vet Surgery.

Nicki’s own website is at www.herbalpetcare.com.au

Cat care

Calling all cat carers! Mark Wednesday 21st September in your diaries. Hall Vet Surgery is holding a cat care information evening at the Hall pavilion.

Learn why your cats behave (or misbehave!) the way they do, how to care for your older cat and why regular checkups are vital to all cats’ health and comfort.

Entry is free.

We have heaps of give-aways and prizes for everyone and a delicious supper to cap the evening off.

Secure a seat by phoning 6230 2223, emailing vets@hallvet.com or telling one of our receptionists at your next visit.

Don’t miss out on a fun-filled chance to improve your cat’s quality of life!

Arthritis in cats

Changes in jumping behaviour are the most obvious sign of arthritis in cats.

Cats with elbow arthritis are reluctant to jump down and seem to pour themselves off the bed or cupboard.  Because they lose agility and flexibility they land with a thud and stand a moment before moving off.

Cats with arthritic knees are reluctant to jump as high as before.  They use chairs to get onto tables or abandon high resting places altogether.  Painful knees make them hesitate before jumping, scramble rather than jump or even miss the target.  Some cats pull themselves up onto the couch or bed rather than spring up.  Occasionally accidents happen because an old cat is unwilling to climb into the litter tray.

Cats that move stiffly have arthritic backs. Because it is difficult for them to groom their sides and backs their coats look rough or matt into tufts.  Nice cats turn into cranky cats when they are picked up or petted because of the pain.  Many spend the day resting and avoid play altogether.

You can help your arthritic cat. Set up stools or boxes as steps onto favourite resting places.  Encourage gentle play to strengthen muscles by trailing ribbon and batting balls.  Keep bodyweight down to reduce strain on old joints. Most important of all provide a warm, well-cushioned sleeping area.

Arthritis in Dogs

What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints. Older and overweight dogs risk developing arthritis, but larger breeds of dogs often develop arthritis at younger ages.

Long-term wear and tear of the joints, trauma, or joint abnormalities such as hip or elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament disease cause arthritis. Infectious and immune mediated arthritis are much less common.

Arthritis erodes the cartilage of the joint, reduces and thins joint fluid, and causes bony tissue to grow around the joint.

How do I know if my pet has arthritis?

Watch out for:

  • reluctance to walk, lagging behind or giving up half-way home
  • reluctance to climb stairs, jump or play
  • lameness or hobbling
  • stiffness
  • difficulty rising from a resting position
  • licking joints

What can I do to help my pet?

Ramps make stairs or the climb into the car less challenging.

Warmth eases stiff joints. Keep arthritic pets inside in colder weather, and provide your dog with a warm coat, a well-insulated kennel and well-padded bed with a heat pad.

Keep and eye on your dog’s weight. Extra kilograms put unnecessary strain on joints. Talk to us about the best weight reduction plan if your dog is overweight.

Moderate exercise is important to the physical and mental health of all pets.  Too much exercise strains the joints but too little results in muscle wastage and more pressure on the joints. Gentle walks or swimming are ideal.

Therapy

Arthritis has no cure, but we can improve your pet’s comfort and slow further joint deterioration. Treatment must be tailored to the individual and we often combine a number of treatment options.

Pentosan or cartrophen injections protect and repair joint cartilage, and stimulate the production of joint fluid.

Glucosamine and chondroitin formulated and tested for animals provide the raw materials for cartilage production as well as providing an anti-inflammatory action.

Pain medication known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) provide strong pain relief and give many arthritic pets a new lease of life. Your vet will prescribe the best one for your dog and discuss administration and possible side-effects. Never try your own arthritis drugs on your pet as some cause irreversible damage to pets’ kidneys and livers.

Some pets respond very well to acupuncture treatments.

Most owners report that their pets have a new lease of life on their individually-tailored arthritis treatment. They enjoy their walks and activity, want to play more and are happier members of the family. Talk to your vet about the best treatment plan to suit your pet.