Have you noticed that your pet is slowing down? Or not able to get around as easily? Your pet may be suffering from degenerative joint disease (DJD). DJD (also known as arthritis and osteoarthritis) describes an irreversible breakdown of the cushion-like tissues (cartilage) within the joints. As the joint cushion disappears, the pain increases. DJD develops in joints as a result of an underlying condition such as obesity, trauma, developmental abnormalities (e.g.: hip and elbow dysplasia), and infection (e.g.: Lyme’s disease).
Symptoms associated with DJD:
- Showing their age: slowing down, slow to rise, low energy level
- Accidents in the house
- Stiff after exercise
- Limping on affected legs
- Less interactive
- Hiding (cats)
- Poor grooming habits (cats)
Diagnosis of DJD relies on history, physical examination findings, and x-rays. Some patients with more complicated DJD may require more extensive testing to rule out other arthritic conditions (e.g.: Lyme disease, auto-immune disorders).
Numerous treatments exist for patients suffering from DJD:
- Pain relief with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicatio
- Glucosamine containing compounds
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Weight loss: pain must be controlled first so that physical activity can be increased
- Physical therapy to increase joint mobility and muscle strength
Most patients require a combination of these therapies to address pain and decrease inflammation. Once the pain is controlled, activity levels can be gradually increased to promote weight loss and further improve joint mobility and muscle strength.
Our veterinary team is committed to helping your pet combat the painful effects of DJD. We will develop a treatment plan with you to set your pet up for success.