Pets’ arthritis can worsen in winter |

Pets’ arthritis can worsen in winter

Nadine Lober

Arthritis is an issue that I have already discussed, but it is becoming more common and we need to try and stop its progression in our pets. But deep snow and cold weather can cause painful joints, especially older or more athletic dogs. We can help alleviate some of the pain associated with this and decrease the arthritic process.Many of us take our dogs everywhere with us: hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc. Dogs chase little creatures into holes and up trees. These pets will usually do these activities even if they feel sore, stiff or even if they know that they will be sore the next morning. Our athletic pets may therefore develop degenerative joint disease from all this activity at an earlier age than a city dog. Of course, genetic predisposition to weak cartilage and previous injuries can also contribute to early onset of arthritis. We don’t want our dogs to age but they do, and as they get older their activities have to be adjusted.Degenerative joint disease is a progressive condition. Synovial fluid is the liquid in the joints that lubricates and cushions. When this fluid begins to run out, the cartilage lining the joints starts degenerating. Many different joints in the body can be affected, but most commonly are: hips and knees.The most common symptoms are stiffness, difficulty rising, inability to jump into the car or go up stairs. Sometimes you may notice your pet breathing hard or moaning, and these also can be signs of pain. The good news is that arthritis, a common problem for animals and humans, has been extensively researched. Treatment is multi-faceted and includes weight reduction, exercise, anti-inflammatory medication, nutritional supplements and acupuncture.Glucosamine, a nutritional supplement, can alter the course of arthritis by improving the health of the cartilage and synovial fluid. Glucosamine has been researched in human medicine and is now given to most patients undergoing any kind of surgery involving joints. I, myself take glucosamine daily for knee arthritis and degenerative discs.Glucosamine comes in various forms. The reliability of the distributing company is very important because the efficiency of the product can be altered in the production. The chewable tablets I recommend for dogs and cats (glycoflex) have been so successful that veterinarians have tried to take them too. This particular company has finally developed tablets for humans that have the same great benefits. Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism