Many pets develop some form of joint disease during their lives. It can be mild, even unnoticeable to the owner, or it can be debilitating, severly affecting a pet's quality of life. Signs of joint disease usually do not appear until the latter part of a dog's life. Dogs are most susceptible to arthritis than cats, and larger dogs are more vulernable to arthritis than smaller breeds. Signs of joint disease include stiffness, limping, inability to rise, reluctance to jump or climb, and noticeable pain. There are quite a few causes to arthritis: ligament or muscle disorders, fractures involving joint development disorders, diertary and hormonal disease, cancer inflammatory joint disease, and degenerative spinal joint disease.
If your dog has arthritis, there are steps you can take to improve your dog's quality of life.
1. Seek medical treatment. This is usually the only option for pet owners. Through proper diet, exercise, supplements, and pain relief may help to decrease the progression of joint disease.
2. Weight management. All surgical and medical procedures will be more beneficial if your dog is not overweight.
3. Exercise. Exercise that provides a good range of motion and muscle building, and limits wear and tear on the dog's joints is best.
4. Warmth and good sleeping areas. Keep your pet warm as signs of arthritis tend to worsen in the cold. Also, providing a firm foam bed helps distribute weight evenly and reduce pressure on joints.
If you are interested in donating for animals in need, on March 14 from 6-9pm The Six Legs Foundation will be hosting their annual pizza party (2144 N. Wood, $40). This organization provides financial assistance to pet owners who need help in paying for emergency or routine veterinary care for their dogs.