Treating your Pet's Arthritis
There are many treatment options for the reduction of the signs and symptoms associated with arthritis. These treatment options should be discussed with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment or combination of treatments for your pet.
There are many medications that are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to decrease the overall pain and inflammation caused by arthritis flares. The medications prescribed are often non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, it should be noted that many medications are associated with potential negative side effects. In addition to medications, there are also a wide range of natural treatment options. The most commonly reported side effects from NSAIDs include:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Kidney complications
- Liver complications
- Loss of appetite
It is possible that your veterinarian may recommend surgery as an option for the treatment of certain arthritic symptoms. However, surgeries are often accompanied by certain complications, including an increased risk for the development of infections. Surgeries are typically expensive, and considered to be a last resort.
Arthritis is not to be used as an excuse for not exercising on a regular basis. While your pet should avoid strenuous physical activity, regular walks and stretching are necessary to slow the overall progression of arthritis. The idea if you don't use it, you lose it is very appropriate here. Physical activity is essential, but limitations to activity levels are important to keep your pet comfortable and pain free.
It is important that your pet have a diet that provides all the necessary nutritional content. There are many foods available in addition to dietary supplementation that can ensure this is accomplished on a daily basis.
In addition to other treatment methods, some simple environmental modifications can make daily living easier for your pet, in addition to reducing overall stress. This reduction of stress on the bones and joints of your pet is typically cause for a reduction in symptom severity, duration, and frequency.
- Comfort: Keep food and water available in readily accessible areas.
- Ramps: If possible, create ramps to areas that your pet prefers to be, particularly if stairs are involved.
- Heat: Supply a warm and dry area for your pet to sleep and relax. Heat has been connected with overall pain relief and reduction of joint stiffening.
- Non-Skid: If your home has linoleum or hard wood, it is recommended that the areas frequented by your pet have non skid runners to slippery areas.
- Grooming: It is essential to groom your pet. While grooming, gently massage the arthritic areas and practice flexing. When done on a frequent basis and in a gentle manner, this can slow the progression of arthritic symptoms.
The fact remains that there are many treatment options for pet arthritis. It is up to you and your pet, with the advice of a good veterinarian, the treatment option or combination of options that are best suited to your pet's particular arthritic situation.
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