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Osteoarthritis

OA Doesn't Stand for "Old Age"...

...nor is it a "symptom of old age." Osteoarthritis (OA), or Degenerative Joint disease (DJD), can be defined as a degenerative disease that affects 1 or more joints resulting in pain, inflammation, and stiffness. This disease can affect dogs and cats at any age. Untreated it can lead to significant loss of mobility and a sharp decrease in the quality of life.

There are many possible treatment options if your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms:

- mobility issues such as difficulty rising, walking, using stairs
- stiffness and/or limping
- pain
- decrease in activity
- lack of energy/interest in play
- muscle wasting

There are numerous management options for treatment of OA, which can be used alone or in any combination as seen fit by your veterinarian.

Treatment Options include:

  • Weight Management - keeping your pet "slim and trim" has remarkable health benefits. For an overweight pet, losing 10 lbs is the equivalent of giving a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for pain. Talk to your vet to establish your pet's ideal target weight.
  • Nutritional - j/d diet. Hill's Joint Diet is specifically made to help manage OA with its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and EPA to nourish cartilage.
  • Joint Supplements, such as Dasuquin or Cosequin - These supplements contain glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate to help your pet's joint and bone health.
  • NSAIDS, such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help ease the pain and inflammation of joints with OA. Use is up to a vet's discretion.
  • Pain management in advanced cases with medications such as Tramadol - In cases where the pain from OA is too severe to manage with NSAIDs alone, sometimes additional pain medications are required to keep your pet comfortable.
  • Adequan injections - These injections help to prevent the wearing away of cartilage in all joints, which is especially important in those affected by OA. Keeping cartilage healthy and intact prevents further wear-and-tear in already painful joints.
  • Rehab options such as Laser; Whirlpool; UWT-

*Laser therapy accelerates tissue repair and cell growth, reduces fibrous tissue formation, reduces inflammation, reduces pain, and increases circulation, which are all very helpful in the management of OA.

*Whirlpool with electric stimulation programs for pain control is used for total body pain relief treatment, and the warm water and jets increase circulation.  Similar to you sitting in the hot tub for soreness with the added benefit of e-stim through the water.

*UWT, or the UnderWater Treadmill, is used to exercise animals while reducing the stress on the joints using the buoyancy of the water. This is especially useful for pets who have osteoarthritis, and may be unable to carry their entire body weight on their limbs.  The warm water helps increase circulation and loosens muscles, ligaments, and tendons.