Christmas + pitch perfect + arthritis
Hope everyone’s Christmas break was happy and filled with loved ones! We got to enjoy a very white Christmas here and the snow has not stopped yet.
I’m getting a lot of achy dogs coming into the clinic right now, so I thought I would talk about arthritis and the options to help your loved one be more comfortable as he/she ages.
The cold weather seems to make arthritis worse due to the decrease in activity we all exhibit during the winter. So how do you know if this is affecting your pet?
Is your pet slow to get up in the morning?
Is your pet going for shorter walks or taking longer to do the same walk?
Is your pet unwilling to jump or missing the sofa when they do try to jump?
These are all signs of degenerative joint disease in pets (DJD). Just like me or you, as we get older we develop arthritis in our knees, hips, back, wrists, etc. Our pets typically experience arthritis in their hips, knees, and back. Often times this leads to a decrease in mobility which in turn leads to more inflammation and more pain. So what can you do?
If your pet exhibits any of these signs you should first speak to your veterinarian and make sure you have the correct disease process and nothing more serious. Once diagnosed, you can start your pet on joint supplements if the arthritis is minor. Dasaquin is a well-respected product amongst veterinarians and can help aid in joint health for your pet.
Weight loss is always high on my list of “treatments” for arthritic pets. Is your pet carrying a little extra weight than they should? Even 5lbs is a lot of extra pressure on the joints for a dog or cat. Food is not love. Quality of life and duration of pets lives is extended by YEARS if their weight is better maintained. Prescription diets such as Hills Mobility + Metabolic can cover both joint supplements and weight control.
If your pets arthritis is further progressed, they may need a daily medication called a Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory. This is not the same as tylenol/ ibuprofen for people, so please do NOT give your dogs human NSAIDs. Medications like Rimadyl or Metacam are used in a healthy dog to decrease the inflammation in the joints and make the pet more comfortable. Some pets need daily NSAIDs and some pets can use them as needed. Your veterinarian will need to run some bloodwork before starting these medications as they can affect the liver and kidney.
Other options that have less potential side effects include injections of Adequan. Adequan is poysulfated glycosaminoglycan given to your pet via injections in the muscle for several weeks in a row, then monthly to help maintain better joint health. Adequan is special in that it actually helps repair the damaged cartilage and keeps more damage from occurring. In essence, it slows down the arthritis process. This is an excellent option especially for early stages of arthritis. No side effects and it is not processed by internal organs, so no bloodwork. Why don’t more people get this miracle drug for their pet?? As I mentioned above, its injectable. Your vet has to administer the injection every week for 4-6 weeks, then monthly to every other month for maintenance.
The key to treating arthritis is identifying the problem and starting treatment EARLY. If you can slow down the arthritis process, your pet will live a longer happier life. A lot of owners wait until their pet’s daily life is affected because they miss the first signs of arthritis. Arthritis can start at any age so The more damage that has occurred directly affects the response to treatment. There are several options available and it’s not a one size fits all plan. Your pet will be assessed by your veterinarian and a treatment plan started that is tailored to your long-term goals and your pets needs.
Hubbs and I went for a pre christmas celebration to see Pitch Perfect 3 at the Alamo Draft House Friday night. It was excellent! Hubbs thought it was better than Pitch Perfect 2! Plenty of personal space plus a silent waiter bringing me food and beer is the ONLY way to watch a movie. Can you tell I’m slightly introverted??
I’ve followed my weight lifting plan pretty well and even got a couple of spin classes in this week. On Saturday, I had to take our truck to the shop for new tires while Jett took my vehicle to the mountains. Some family friends came up for the holidays so I couldn’t really complain about him going and leaving me with no car. The shop was about 4 miles from my neighborhood and the weather forecast was sunny and 45 degrees, so I figured running home made the most sense. I could have taken a Uber, but again can you say introvert? I planned to run later in the day anyway so it killed two birds with one stone. I hate running on sidewalks through major traffic. You can’t really lose yourself in the run when there’s a constant traffic noise in the background. Nonetheless, it was a run and the weather was beautiful, so no complaints here.
Sunday I worked the ER shift then drove to the mountains to go skiing with Hubbs. Since we don’t have any family nearby and didn’t want to sit alone staring at each other attempting to make Christmas memorable, we chose to ski. I have to say, it was a nice way to spend the day. Lots of new snow had fallen in the past few days so it was ideal conditions. It might not have been early morning presents and food with family, but we were still together. What was not so ideal, were the roads. The major interstate connecting my home to the mountains actually closed due to the bad conditions.
We took a back road home which meant some slow driving, but we made it safely. Now back to reality and back to work!