Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Cover photo source: Adam Grabek on Unsplash

About 20% of dogs and around 33% of cats all over the world suffer from some form of arthritis (the inflammation of the joint cartilage). Whether young or old, large or small, no cat or dog is completely safe from this condition.

Of all the different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of debilitating lameness in dogs and cats. In OA, both the joint cartilage and the underlying bone are damaged, and as it results in permanent and progressive damage that makes even the smallest and simplest of movement difficult and agonising, it’s very important to take good care of your pet’s joints even from an early age. To find out how, read on.

Osteoarthritis: A common joint problem in cats & dogs

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Source: Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

A degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is the prevalent cause of lameness and one of the most common joint diseases in cats and dogs. Not to be confused with sarcopenia, a condition where healthy dogs and cats lose lean muscle as they age and develop weakness in the limbs, OA is painful for the pet!

An irreversible, progressive disorder, there are two common types of OA — Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia. Although dogs and cats of any breed can develop OA, breeds genetically predisposed to Hip Dysplasia include:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Mastiffs
  • Rottweilers
  • Maine Coons
  • Persians
  • Himalayans
  • Siameses
  • Bengals
  • Abyssinians
  • Rex Cats.

As for Elbow Dysplasia, it is rather rare in cats, but dog breeds with a high incidence it include:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Rottweilers
  • Bassets
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs.

 

If not inherited, OA in cats and dogs may occur because of obesity or injuries such as ligament tears or fractures.

Characterised by the thinning of the joint cartilage, changes in the joint capsule, a build-up of fluid in the joint (joint swelling), and the formation of bony outgrowths around the joints, OA causes inflammation, pain, and restricted flexibility of the affected joints.

All these in turn lead to reduced movement and the wasting of the muscles supporting the joint, making the afflicted joints even more unstable and movements all the more painful. Ultimately, there’s a reduced quality of life overall.

Warning signs to look out for

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Source: Artem Labunsky on Unsplash

It’s always good to observe your pet regularly, because sometimes, symptoms of joint problems might not be very visible and pets often do not voice out their discomfort until it’s too severe. This is especially so for cats, who are masters at hiding their pain due to the survival instincts that stem from their tree-dwelling ancestry.

OA is one such joint problem that can be hard to identify in its early stages, with symptoms that are not visibly apparent until the affected joint is severely impacted. In fact, your pet might even be already suffering in silence, so if you’re unsure if your pet is suffering from OA, keep your eyes peeled for these early warning signs:

  • Slowness in getting up from lying down
  • Moving slower
  • Reluctance to jump, run, play, and climb stairs as before
  • Difficulty in getting into position to urinate or defecate
  • Weight gain
  • Stiffness
  • Irritability
  • Pain when touched
  • Loss of interest in playing and interacting
  • Loss of muscle mass over spine and limbs.

 

If you’re still unsure, have your suspicions addressed by having your pet examined by a veterinarian! This is important because while OA is a painful and incurable condition, early prevention and management can help to minimise lifetime discomfort and slow degenerative changes, plus offer more treatment options than when the OA becomes severe.

Tips for caring for your pet’s joints

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Source: Joshua Chun on Unsplash

Whether your pet already has joint issues or not, there are a few steps that pet owners can take to ensure that your precious critter’s joints are well taken care of, which can help to prevent or slow down the progression of their joint deterioration.

This management of OA involves employing a variety of measures at the same time, and is termed multimodal intervention.

1. Provide a correct diet

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

A properly formulated diet will enable the body to mount a strong immune response to an invading bacteria or virus and produce chemicals that can counter the harmful inflammation associated with OA.

To protect your pet against OA, it should be fed a nourishing, balanced, and complete diet that contains all the major nutrient groups (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibre) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

However, depending on your pet’s life stage (growth stage, adult stage, and senior stage), the proportion of the major and micronutrients required will vary. Growing individuals require diets that are high in calories, proteins, and micronutrients such calcium and vitamin D, while adult animals require less calories and protein in their food.

We recommend consulting your vet on how you can best nourish your pet!

2. Maintain an ideal weight

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Obesity is scarier than it looks

The more your pet weighs, the more stress and pressure is applied on its joints, which in turn leads to increased erosion of the joint cartilage and increased inflammation. But besides simply being at risk of developing OA, being overweight or obese will also put your pet at risk of:

  • Developing cardiovascular and respiratory disease and high blood pressure
  • Developing hormonal disorders such as diabetes
  • Exercise and heat intolerance
  • Increased anesthetic and surgical risks
  • Matted coats and increased risk of developing non-allergic skin disease (Overweight cats tend to groom themselves less often)
  • Difficulty when giving birth naturally
  • Shorter life expectancy by up to 2.5 years.

 

To help your pet maintain at its ideal weight and fight against obesity, here are some measures that you can take:

  • Feed your pet according to the recommended daily food dosage provided by your pet food’s manufacturer, which is based on body weight per day
  • Limit the amount of treats given — many treats are high in calories, and should only provide no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie requirement
  • If your pet has been sterilised, it will have reduced metabolic needs, so decrease their daily food intake accordingly by 20% two months after the procedure
  • Provide your pet with daily exercise, which brings us to our next point!

3. Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Source: Pixabay on Pexels

An inactive pet with a sedentary lifestyle will gradually develop stiff joints, which in turn creates difficulty moving, aches, and pains. If your precious companion already has OA, the pain caused by OA will only make the pet move about less, which results in even stiffer joints and the shrinking of muscles to support the affected joints. This then leads to an increased difficulty in moving, creating further joint instability — in other words, it’s a vicious cycle.

As if that’s not bad enough, dogs and cats suffering from chronic pain may experience poor sleep, impaired ability to concentrate, anxiety, depression, reduced immune responses, and delayed healing, just like us humans.

To prevent this from happening, provide your pet with low impact exercise regularly! This includes swimming and about 15-30 minutes of gentle play for cats, which will help to build up muscle mass that can strengthen and protect your pet’s joints. Activities that provide plenty of mental stimulation such as slow walks are also important for your pet’s mental health.

Make sure to also avoid high-impact activities such as fetch, frisbee, or even going up stairs that will involve jumping, running at high speed, and climbing.

4. Provide environmental support

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Make it easy for your pets to do what they love without risking injury. This is essential because simple, common actions like jumping from sofas and high places and running around at full speed increases the risk of injuries, which can potentially develop into joint problems.

Consider introducing pet-friendly ramps and footstools to help them access higher grounds, and if your pet has mobility issues, make sure to provide a proper bed that’s soft but supportive and dry them off thoroughly after baths! Sleeping on a hard surface and cold, damp conditions will only serve to exacerbate a joint problem and cause more pain and discomfort.

5. Sign up for physical therapy

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

These serve to relieve pain, prevent muscle wasting, improve muscle strength, improve mobility, and most importantly, improve your pet’s quality of life. There are a wide range of physical therapies to choose from, and some of them include massages, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and laser therapy. In cases of severe OA, a rehabilitation vet should typically be consulted for the best physical therapy treatment option.

6. Opt for medical and surgical therapy

Besides physical therapy, some vets prescribe oral and injectable medications to help your furry friend manage pain and reduce joint inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly used because of their effectiveness, but for paw-tients that cannot tolerate NSAIDs, other medications will be prescribed, albeit slightly less effective at managing pain. In very severe cases, surgery might be needed to replace the joint or remove damaged tissue from it.

However, under no circumstances should you ever self-prescribe your pet with human-use pain medications! These might be too potent for your pet, or may contain ingredients that are toxic to animals. Some have been known to cause liver or kidney damage to pets, and may even result in death.

7. Provide joint health supplements

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Antinol®, the natural health supplement for Osteoarthritis!

For more foolproof, holistic joint care to ensure quality of life for your furmily member, Antinol®  is an all-natural anti-inflammatory supplement that has assisted many dogs and cats with OA around the world to enhance their mobility and start moving again. Boasting an impressive track record, 90% of dogs and cats showed visible improvement in mobility about two weeks after starting Antinol®!

Antinol® is the result of decades of nutrition research, and at the heart of Antinol® is the patented ingredient PCSO-524® — a unique lipid extract from the New Zealand Green-Lipped Mussel.

What’s special about PCSO-524® is that it is much more complex than just the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) components. There are over 90 individual fatty acids including rare and novel compounds like OTA (octadecatetraenoic acid) and ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid) within the lipid matrix of PCSO-524®!

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Antinol® gel caps can either be swallowed whole or punctured to let out the liquid inside.

These work synergistically to create a potent anti-inflammatory response, which reduces pain in your pet, increases mobility, and ultimately its happiness and quality of life. Thanks to a special patented extraction process that employs no heat or chemicals, the effectiveness of PCSO-524® is also kept at its highest level.

In fact, published medical journal, Inflammopharmacology, has proven Antinol® to be 200 times more potent than flaxseed oil, 175 times more potent than salmon oil, 125 times more potent than green-lipped mussel powder, and 100 times more potent than fish oil. In other words, it’s a very powerful shield of defense against mobility problems.

And while it stamps out inflammation with ease, pet owners can also rest assured that Antinol® is allergy-safe because it only contains extracted lipids and no seafood proteins. Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), long-term use of Antinol® does not affect liver or kidney function, and neither does it adversely affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Currently only available at veterinary clinics, Antinol® is often used by vets for the following conditions:

  • As a first line choice for patients newly diagnosed with osteoarthritis
  • To reduce reliance on long term use of NSAIDs
  • To enhance osteoarthritis management for patients receiving cartrophen or other concomitant treatment
  • For any current patient with known joint disease
  • Pre- and post-operatively for orthopaedic surgery patients
  • For patients starting or currently undergoing a rehabilitation program
  • Prophylactic use for patients predisposed to osteoarthritis development, such as those with conformation issues like hip dysplasia.

Good days start with Antinol®

Are You Caring for Your Dog & Cat’s Joints Properly?

Taken daily, Antinol® supports your pet’s joint health and mobility to maintain an active lifestyle and enjoy life to its fullest with you once more. Clinically proven to be effective, it’s currently the leading joint mobility therapy in Japan. Many pet owners have testified that besides seeing an improvement in mobility, they’ve also noticed that their pet seems more lively, active, and happy after taking Antinol®!


Just take a look at these before-and-after videos!

If you’d like to get your pet started on Antinol®, it is currently available over-the-counter at selected veterinary clinics* and no prescription is required. However, if you’re keen to get more holistic advice on maintaining your pet’s joint health and find out more about how Antinol® can help your pet, simply ask your vet and they’ll be able to help!

*Note: Direct message @Antinolsg here to find out which clinics carry Antinol®.