Hello, my name is Buster, I am a 14 year old Blue Cattle dog and I suffer from Osteoarthritis.

I need to ask you all a very important question…

Do you or someone you know suffer from arthritis?

Well did you know, that Dogs and Cats can also suffer from Arthritis?

Today we will be talking about what arthritis is.

Healthy joints allow your dog to run and play without pain. Joints involved in motion are surrounded by lubricating synovial fluid and the ends of the bones are covered in elastic articular cartilage. These joint structures allow bones to glide over each other as your dog moves.

How does cartilage function?

There are three main components of cartilage – Chondrocytes, Proteoglycans and Collagen. Chondrocytes are cells that maintain cartilage health. Chondrocytes use building blocks (glucosamine and chondroitin) to build Proteoglycans have a negative charge which attracts water molecules into the cartilage which in turn gives it shock absorbing properties. Collagen are elastic fibres that ensure cartilage maintains its shape under pressure. These three components must be maintained in a delicate balance.

When does arthritis begin?

Osteoarthritis may begin when genetic (i.e certain breed) or physical triggers cause Chondrocytes to become abnormal. Chondrocytes begin to form abnormal Proteoglycan chains, disrupting the delicate balance of water within the cartilage. The cartilage becomes stiff from too much water and thus becomes brittle and starts to crack. It is important to understand that these changes may occur without your dog or cat displaying any obvious signs of discomfort.

When will I notice signs of arthritis in my dog or cat?

With time, fragments of damaged cartilage will break off and enter the joint space triggering the release of destructive enzymes. These enzymes start to breakdown the remaining healthy cartilage. This damage causes inflammation, stiffness and difficulty getting up which can indicate that arthritis is at its most severe. This is why it is important to be proactive and intervene early before arthritis becomes problematic for your dog or cat.

Here are signs to look for, dogs and cats exhibit different clinical signs.

Arthritic symptoms in Dogs: 
· Stiffness/difficulty getting up
· Difficulty climbing stairs of jumping into car
· Lagging behind on walks
· Licking or chewing at the joints
· Yelping
· Reduced activity
· Personality changes
· Reduced appetite
· Lameness

Arthritic symptoms in Cats: 
· Stiffness
· Difficulty getting into/out of the litter tray
· Reduced grooming/coat looking scruffy
· Lameness
· Personality changes
· Hesitant to jump up or down
· Reduced activity
· Reduced appetite

If your pet is showing any of these signs, a trip to the vet is needed, vets can diagnose arthritis through clinical signs, a physical examination, or, if needed, radiographs (x-rays).

 

Tune in next time, where I will talk to you about some different medications and treatments you can use to help us feel better – Buster