It’s sad to see our animal companions no longer able to do the things they once could, as they age. All older animals have some amount of arthritis, although some have many more problems with it than others. Western medicine has very few options for treating arthritis, relying mostly on drugs, to cover up the pain. Many times, animals are on three different drugs and it still isn’t enough.
In some animals, arthritis manifests as weakness caused by the inflammation pushing on the nerves. Many dogs walk around like their feet are asleep, tripping over things, stumbling, and no longer having the strength to jump into the car or onto the bed. Unfortunately, because they can no longer walk as far or do as much as they used to, their muscles start to atrophy or waste away, causing a vicious cycle. As the weakness increased, they do less, which causes more atrophy from disuse, leading to more weakness and more atrophy and less activity. In the end many of these animals can no longer get up on their own or even take a short walk.
In other animals, arthritis will manifest as pain, which can also prevent movement and cause the weakness/atrophy cycle. Many of these animals will become moody and withdrawn and may even snap and bite at their people out of fear of pain. It’s so hard to see our friends have so much pain that they no longer want our affection.
In most animals there is a combination of pain and weakness.
Usually, dogs suffer more than cats because they carry more weight and are used to daily activity. Also, people often don’t notice that their cats are in pain because they spend so much time sitting and sleeping.
So, what do we do for our friends to help them live out their old years happy and pain free?
Fortunately using herbal and supplementary therapies as well as remedial and rehabilitation work there are many ways we can help our pets (and ourselves) improve our joint function and range of motion.
You can also look into rehab! There are many ways of building strength in your pet. Simple things such as applying toenail grips so there is no slipping on shiny floor surfaces can be a huge help. Dr Buzby’s toe grips are available online and here is a video link for you to observe: Toe grips
Regular walking in sand or hydrotherapy or an underwater treadmill can be useful as well. Positioning on a gym ball, stretches, ‘walking through sticks’ and placing a temporary hair scrunchy on alternate feet can be helpful too. For an individualised holistic plan for your animal family member please contact us at our website.
Dr Elaine Cebuliak BVSc MACVSc dentistry, Dip Ed, Dip Rem Massage, Cert Chinese Herbs, Cert IVAS Qual Acupuncture, CMAVA