Do they Suffer?
Common signs of joint pain include your animal’s inability to get and up and down steps, general stiffness in gait as well as marked inability to recover from exercise for a long period of time. Other symptoms of pain might include, change in activity level, disposition, appetite and general body condition. Cats don’t exhibit signs of pain in the same way other animals do so its important to talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you might have with their conditions.
Treat the Cause, Not Just the Symptoms
Current treatments, such as NSAIDs, only attempt to reduce symptoms and can sometimes leave the animal feeling lethargic. As an alternative, using MediVet America’s stem cell therapy allows your Vet to treat the cause of your animal’s discomfort, not just suppress the symptoms.
Soundness is one of the most important factors in canine performance. The functions and activity of athletic dogs can be affected by low-grade unsoundness. Diagnosing the performance related MuSk issues seen in athletic and working dogs that do not cause gait abnormality can be a great challenge to the general veterinary practitioner. These problems could be treated or managed if they were identified, but their diagnosis is difficult. A successful diagnostic history will help identify when the problem first surfaced, which area of anatomy is involved and the significance of the problem. The first step in any performance workup is to identify the primary and, if present, any secondary or tertiary problems. In general, there are three negative influences on canine physical performance. They are pain, fatigue, and drive. The dog that is sound, is physically conditioned for the activity, and is properly focused on performing the task will perform better than another dog of similar genetic abilities that is deficient in any of these three areas. Our goals should be to optimize our dog’s performance and at the same time minimize any detrimental effects of the workout. The better we prepare our dog for an event, the better it will perform. At the same time a properly trained dog decreases the chance of a medical problem or injury that might occur during an activity.
As with humans, obesity, or excessive weight, in dogs and cats places extra demands on virtually all of the organs of their bodies, resulting in numerous health risks. The risks of pet obesity are serious and often extremely costly, with disease and sometimes death as potential consequences. As is so often the case, it’s much cheaper and easier to prevent issues than it is to treat and fix them. Some cat and dog breeds are genetically predisposed to being overweight, a predisposition that can be made worse by lack of regular exercise and/or overfeeding (including free feeding). All cats have the potential to become overweight, but the problem tends to be more prevalent in mixed-breed cats, Persians, Domestic Shorthair and Manx breeds. Some of the more popular dog breeds prone to obesity are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Weimaraners, Dalmatians, Basset Hounds, Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties), Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Great Danes, Elkhounds, English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, Shih Tzus, Welsh Corgis, Bichon Frise (Bichons), and Cairn Terriers. Unfortunately, many of the dog breeds prone to obesity are also predisposed to suffering from bone and joint disorders such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia.
Atopic dermatitis is a disease in which there is an inherited tendency to develop IgE antibodies in response to exposure to allergens that are inhaled or absorbed through the skin. This extremely common allergic skin disease is second only to flea allergy dermatitis in frequency, and affects about 10 percent of dogs. Atopy begins in dogs 1 to 3 years of age. Susceptible breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Wire Fox Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Dalmatians, Poodles, English Setters, Irish Setters, Boxers, and Bulldogs, among others, although any dog may be affected. Even mixed breeds may suffer from atopy.
Osteaoarthritis (osteo – bone, arthritis – joint inflammation and pain) and Degenerative Joint Disease are conditions resulting from wear and tear that causes inflammation of the joints, leading to swelling, pain and stiffness. Degenerative Joint Disease can result from congenital (hereditary) problems such as elbow or hip dysplasia, while osteoarthritis typically arises from trauma or injury, or simply from the normal aging process. These conditions can affect any dog at any age but are most common in older large-breed dogs. Excessive body weight (obesity) can also greatly exacerbate the issue. Many large and giant breed dogs are genetically predisposed to degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis, especially Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, St. Bernards, and Newfoundlands. Cartilage functions as a buffer between the bones in a joint, and when cartilage breaks down, it reduces the efficiency of the joint’s functions. This is generally considered mild arthritis and can be uncomfortable but not debilitating for pets. Severe arthritis, which can progress to bone-on-bone contact if the cartilage damage is extensive, can be extremely painful and possibly crippling. Symptoms of mild osteoarthritis include stiffness in moving joints (hips, knees, elbows, and shoulders), favoring a limb, difficulty in rising, hesitancy to jump, decreased activity level, and general lethargy. Unfortunately, once osteoarthritis begins, it can continue in a “vicious circle” and become more and more severe. The pain in the joints causes the dog to exercise less and use a decreased range of motion. As a result, the muscles surrounding the affected joints lose strength and the joint therefore has less support from the surrounding tissue. The cycle continues with more pain, more muscle loss, more cartilage and joint damage, and so on.