Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

The pet form of osteoarthritis is the same as the human-form – the human form – inflammation of the bones and cartilage within joints that then causes pain and discomfort.  It is a tell- tale sign that joints are suffering from wear and tear as the pet gradually deteriorates.
Osteoarthritis may: 
• Stop your pet from being active
• Change the way they walk, run or bear weight
• Interfere with the quality time you spend together
Pets are living longer than ever before. While this allows us to spend more quality time with our furry friends, it also leaves us with an extra responsibility to ensure they live comfortably as they age.

Here at Fur Life Vet we have created a great little online Quiz you can take to see if your dog is at risk of arthritis.

It asks a few simple questions about your dog and how he gets around.

It only take 5 minutes and just might help you identify if your dog is suffering in silence!

Arthritis and Dogs
Dogs show pain in many different ways, plus osteoarthritis signs can develop over a period of time. It can be hard to work out if these behaviours are a normal part of aging, or something more.
Is your dog:
  • Limping?
  • Having trouble rising?
  • Less active?
  • Seem uncomfortable when exercising?
  • Detached, irritable, or more dependent than previously?
  • Chewing or licking their joints?
Some dogs may display one or more of these symptoms, however many cases of canine arthritis go undetected. If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, a visit to the vet will be the best gift you can give your pooch this year.
Arthritis and Cats
Osteoarthritis in cats is very subtle as symptoms may be more behavioural than physical.
Is your cat:
  • Reluctant to play or jump?
  • Irritable?
  • Seem uncomfortable when grooming?
  • Inactive?
  • Suffering from swollen joints?
  • Limping?
These are common symptoms in arthritic cats. However, as many cats have a sedentary lifestyle (especially in their senior years), it may be difficult to spot they’re in pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a vet visit. Your furry feline will thank you for it!

All the ways your vet can help

They can:
  • Diagnose your pet’s symptoms
  • Provide tailored pain relief so your animal is comfortable
  • Help protect against progression of the disease
  • Suggest ways to manage your pet’s weight – which is often the single most important thing you can do to help your pet long term
  • Offer a range of advice – about rest, exercise, physiotherapy and how to make your pet more comfy around the house (soft bedding, easily accessible litter trays or indoor ramps to help them get to their favourite spots).

Medication

While weight, diet modification and nutritional supplements can all play a role in managing osteoarthritis, so can medication – especially to alleviate your pet’s pain.
NSAIDS
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are one of many options used to manage the condition. They do a few important things such as provide pain relief, reduce inflammation and protect against joint deterioration.
Side effects
As with all medications, side effects can occur.
Common ones are:
  • A mild softening of your pet’s stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Other gastrointestinal signs
If your pet becomes unwell or you suspect your pet is having problems with a medication, STOP it and CONTACT your vet.

Why it’s vital to schedule a vet revisit

If your pet is on NSAID medication, it’s really important you stick to your revisit vet schedule so they can regularly monitor your furry friend with check-ups and lab tests. As lifestyle and medication needs can change over time, your friendly vet might suggest modifications along the way to make sure your best mate continues to live a long and healthy life.

HELPING YOUR PET MOVE INTO THEIR SENIOR YEARS COMFORTABLY & PAIN FREE

Fur Life Vet Bendigo 
Epsom 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/epsom
Golden Square 1800 387 543
furlifevet.com.au/goldensquare

Gippsland Veterinary Hospital
Maffra 03 5147 1177
Sale 03 5144 3100
maffravet.com.au

Kyabram Veterinary Clinic
Kyabram 03 5852 2244
Nathalia 03 5866 2860
kyabramvets.com.au

Passionate Vetcare Bendigo 
03 5443 9385
passionatevetcare.com.au

Terang & Mortlake Vet Clinic
Terang 03 03 5592 2111
Mortlake 03 5599 2612
terangmortlakevet.com.au

Warrnambool Veterinary
Warrnambool 03 5561 2255
Port Fairy 03 5568 1855
wvc.com.au

Border Veterinary Clinic
Barham 03 5453 3159
Cohuna 03 5456 2709
Leitchville 03 5456 7334
Kerang 03 5452 2094
bordervets.com.au

Southern Riverina Vets
Finley 03 5883 3833
Echuca 03 5482 3202
Moama 03 5480 6071
Deniliquin 03 5881 5488
sr-vets.com.au

Dubbo Veterinary Hospital
02 6884 1190
dubbovet.net.au

Quirindi Veterinary Clinic
02 6741 2000
quirindivetclinic.com.au

Gympie Veterinary Services
Gympie 07 5482 2488
Tin Can Bay 07 5486 4666
gympieveterinaryservices.com

Scottsdale Veterinary Services
03 6352 2996
scottsdalevets.com.au

Smithton Veterinary Service
03 6452 6333
smithtonvet.com.au

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Case of the month

Case of the month

Molly’s Bladder Stones!

Molly is a 6 year old female Cavalier Poodle that presented to the clinic with a history of frequently urinating small amounts for about a week duration.

On presentation she had urine staining around vulval area and painful on palpation of bladder. Urine was collected and showed some abnormalites – bacteria present, alkaline pH and white blood cells. An ultrasound was performed and could visualise stones situated in the bladder.

Normal dog urine is slightly acidic and contains waste products from metabolism including dissolved mineral salts and other compounds. Struvite is a normal component of dog’s urine and will remain dissolved as long as the urine is acidic and is not too concentrated, if this changes then crystals will form.

In dogs, bladder stones usually form as a complication of a bladder infection caused by bacteria that produce an enzyme known as urease.  This enzyme breaks down the urea that is normally present in the urine causing an excess production of ammonia; this ammonia production then causes the urine to become alkaline.

Ammonia in the urine also causes inflammation of the bladder. Under these conditions, struvite crystals will precipitate out of solution and collect around any cells or debris that may have formed in the bladder as a result of inflammation.

Female dogs tend to get these types of bladder infections and stones much more frequently than males, probably because their shorter, wider urethra makes it easier for bacteria to pass up the urethra into the bladder.

Molly underwent surgery called a cystotomy, this involves opening up the bladder under a general anaesthetic. The stones where removed successfully and the bladder and urethra were thoroughly flushed with saline.

Molly recovered well after surgery with an indwelling urinary catheter for a couple of days to ensure healing of the bladder without it being stretched too much.

We have sent the stones off to be evaluated in a laboratory to interpret what they exactly are.

Molly needs to be on a special prescription diet to stop the development of more stones in the future.

Caring for your pet in their senior years

Caring for your pet in their senior years

Many of us have had a ‘senior moment’ or two as we get on in years – keys in the fridge, anyone? But did you realise that as they age, your dog or cat will have their own senior moments too? In this article, we explore some signs your dog or cat may exhibit as they reach their senior stage and what you can do to ensure you keep them in tip-top shape and with you for as long as possible.

The signs Whether you’ve got a cat or a dog, the tell-tale signs of age are fairly similar. Here’s a quick rundown (and we know you’ll have a chuckle when you realise how akin they are to ours).

Your dog or cat’s key signs:

  • hair greys
  • their reflexes aren’t as sharp
  • their senses diminish, particularly their hearing, eyesight and smell
  • there’s a marked decrease in their activity
  • they sleep longer and more soundly (can be hard to distinguish with cats as they love to nap!)
  • their movements may appear stiff, laboured or painful

Generally speaking, these signs start to crop up in dogs 10+ years of age. In bigger breeds, like Great Danes, it may be as early as 8. For cats who live indoors – and especially if desexed – it could be anywhere between the ages of 7 to 11. Who’s the best person to help you judge if your pet’s reached their senior years? The prize goes to anyone who answered – my vet! And that brings us to our first top tip in helping you and your animal in their older years …

Health care tips for senior cats/dogs

Up your vet visits:

Just like their human counterparts, senior pets should visit their doctor regularly for check-ups. Aim for a thorough examination every 6 months, as adult cats and dogs can age as much as 3-4 years (in human terms) in a year. Thank the universe we don’t, right?
While you’re there, tell your Vet if you notice changes in your animal’s physical condition or behaviour. Often fur-parents assume changes are related to their pet’s advanced age but they could also be symptoms of a treatable medical condition like osteoarthritis. Early detection means fast and more effective treatment – a win for you and your pet.

Bonus tip: Schedule a visit in the lead up to the colder months to ensure your best mate is fit and ready before the cold sets in.

Rethink their diet:

You might notice your pet eats less which is quite natural if they’re not moving around as much. However, even if they’re eating less, they may gain weight and that’s thanks to the slowing of their metabolism (yep, we’re talking about your pet’s version of the dreaded ‘middle age spread’!).
It could also go the other way and they lose weight. No matter which one, diet is paramount. Excess weight or nutritional deficiencies can contribute to a variety of health-related issues in older pets (diabetes, gum/teeth disease etc). Smaller quantities of low-calorie food are a good idea. If you’re worried about their weight, seek your vet’s advice.

Bonus tip: to beat the podgy-pet syndrome, don’t feed them table scraps or snacks and consider two smaller meals per day, rather than one big one.

Make ‘em comfy:

As they age – particularly if they are overweight or have sore joints – pets may find it difficult to bend down to eat or drink. To make it easier for them, consider investing in a specially designed table with cut-outs for food and drink at variable heights. If you’re handy, you can make a DIY one out of a crate – or perhaps something fancier!

Grooming & exercise:

  • Keep up their worm and parasite control
  • Brush those toothy-pegs on a daily basis
  • Get them out and about as appropriate to their capabilities – short bursts of activity may be better
  • Do a weekly nail check for cats as they may not use their scratching post as often

*Offer valid for in-clinic Senior Wellness Check (cat and dog).  Promotion starts on the 1st March 2018 to May 31st 2018
Any further diagnostics, medications or treatments are not included. 10% off bloods ^Discount valid for standard blood profile test.