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Arthritis and your ageing pet

Pets are life-long companions and faithful friends. Like us, they are subject to the natural processes of life; from being a kitten or puppy they go through adolescence and become mature, wise old souls.

Just like us, their lives are punctuated by the health issues that come with ageing. They will get tender paws and sore joints. And arthritis can even affect a pet at any stage of their life.

Like us, our pets need exercise and room to move about throughout their day. Lethargic, overweight and docile pets may be more prone to muscle and joint deterioration as an increased load and lack of muscle tone exacerbates the issue. It is generally accepted that healthy muscles support joints, reducing the load on cartilage, tendons and the contact surfaces within joints.

Discomfort and pain are very often nature’s early warning signs of arthritis, joint inflammation and swelling. Therefore, a reluctance to move about or a loss of interest in regular neighbourhood walks are signs that should not be ignored. A general change in attitude towards food, favouring one leg over the other, a limp or a hop may all be an indication of arthritis, injury or damage.

Other indicators may include licking or chewing around the areas of some joints. If you see these tendencies then it is worthwhile physically examining the joint and general area. Always be mindful that this may be very painful for your pet and trigger a spontaneous flight or fight response: a bite, scratch or bolt.

Bearing in mind that muscles may be wasting away in the affected area, it is a good idea to compare the joint on the opposite side. By comparing one side with the other, it will be more apparent where the issues are and what they might be.

If the issue becomes apparent it’s time to consider your options. If there is no trauma, rash or broken skin then the options are quite different to those if the skin is broken or inflamed at the surface. In the event of cracked or sore pads, emu oil applied topically may be of benefit; always look between the paws and examine for foreign bodies, sharp items like seeds, prickles or thistles or other foreign bodies that may be causing irritation and inflammation. In the event that the problem area is around a joint, also check for foreign bodies. For peace of mind, it’s always best to get a checkup at your local vets to ensure it is nothing more serious.

Silberhorn has a range of natural supplements available to settle and support joint health. PetRecovery contains deer velvet, glucosamine and chondroitin which provide essential joint support for ageing pets.

Another product which works well in conjunction with PetRecovery is PetMussel. PetMussell contains New Zealand greenlipped mussels and is packed with lipids and omegas to support joint health. The essential nutrients and minerals contained within these natural products may be depleted in your pet or unavailable through their regular diet alone. Both of these products are in capsule form to be taken orally and are all natural to provide your pet with the essential building blocks to maintain general good health. They are especially beneficial for connective tissue, joint and muscle health.

So, what does this all mean regarding pet health? At all times be mindful of your pet’s diet, particularly of the quantities and types of food that may result in weight gain and unnecessary overloading of their joints. Keep their dishes clean for food and water and make sure they have enough water to prevent dehydration, especially in the summer months. Bedding needs to be regularly cleaned for hygiene and to ensure it is free of parasites. Most importantly, regular exercise is critical to maintain your pet’s physical and mental health. Exercise provides socialisation, stimulation and burns off any excess energy. Last but not least, always keep in touch with your veterinary professional.

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