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What is pet arthritis?
Many pet owners may have heard the medical condition arthritis thrown around in conversation and although some might understand the basics of the issue, it can always be helpful to learn more.
How does OA happen?
Pet osteoarthritis (OA) starts to develop due to cartilage surrounding the joints giving way. Cartilage surrounds the joints and acts as a cushion that prevents bone from hitting bone when the dog walks, runs or moves in any way. The cartilage needs to remain wet or filled with fluid to prevent cracking, drying out or getting rough. If the cartilage loses fluid, it no longer has the ability to keep the bones separated. Once this happens, the exposed bones start to rub together, causing them to flatten and lose resilience and the joints no longer move smoothly. When this occurs, the animal's body will send white blood cells to the joint because it feels it's being attacked, but this actually has a negative effect in this situation. The white blood cells release enzymes and free radicals that damage the synovial fluid around the joints, and when the fluid thins, it is no longer able to lubricate the joints, causing the animal more pain. From here, the capsules that surround
the joints will start to become inflamed, which is arthritis.
How common is pet arthritis?
Pet arthritis is a very common medical condition in senior cats and dogs. More than 90 percent of geriatric cats suffer from arthritis, equaling over 12 million felines in America. One out of every five dogs over the age of 7 in the U.S. also suffers from painful arthritis. Almost any breed of dog can be at risk of developing arthritis after reaching senior status, but working breeds, athletic or obese dogs, are even more susceptible. Dogs and cats with other medical conditions like diabetes or Cushing's disease are at an even greater risk.
How you can help
Pet arthritis is very common and because of this there are many pet products on the market to try and curb the effects. Joint supplements with glucosamine for dogs like Dasuquin work to keep fluid in the cartilage and may be best to start your dog on as soon as you get it. This product also works on cats. Anti-inflammatory pet drugs like Previcox and Metacam help to reduce the inflammation that occurs and can keep your dog comfortable as the disease progresses. Investing in Dog Steps with 3 Steps to keep near your dog or cat's favorite chair or couch allows it to get on and off the furniture with ease.