How to treat arthritis in pets

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how to treat arthritis in pets

Managing joint pain in cats and dogs was one of the topics discussed at last month’s FASAVA Congress. The event took place on the Gold Coast and was hosted by Australian Small Animal Veterinarians, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association.

According to small animal surgery specialist Dr Stephen Fearnside, not only does a significant proportion of the pet population suffer from osteoarthritis, that number is set to grow.

“As medical advancements continue, our patients live longer and as a result the number of patients we see with chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis will increase and will require management,” he said.

“Fortunately, we’ve become better at recognising the problem and there are plenty of management options for veterinarians to investigate and use.”

Dr Fearnside explained that when managing patients with osteoarthritis, veterinarians look to address three key issues: reducing pain, improving mobility and quality of life, and slowing disease progression.

“Rehabilitation and physiotherapy are playing an increasing role in the multi-modal management of chronic pain in dogs and cats,” he said.

“Therapies such as massage, joint mobilisation, stretching and targeted exercise programs have become increasingly used in the management of osteoarthritis. Other therapies such as cold laser and therapeutic ultrasound are also being investigated.”

Dr Fearnside added that it’s well understood that obesity plays an important role in contributing to the progression and development of osteoarthritis, and that pet owners should discuss weight management strategies with their veterinarian in an effort to combat the disease.

“It’s very hard for pet owners to see their animals suffering and in pain. Providing pets with a healthy and active lifestyle, a nutritious diet, and a preventative health care plan formulated in consultation with a veterinarian gives them the best chance of living long and happy lives,” he advised.

“While a cure for osteoarthritis is not yet in sight, we do have many management options available to us in our effort to reduce pain and improve the quality of life of our pets suffering with the disease.”

Based on a media release sourced from the AVA.

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