PAWS AND REFLECT | Cold-weather joint care

PAWS AND REFLECT | Cold-weather joint care

PAWS AND REFLECT | Cold-weather joint care

This time of year, the frosty weather brings out colorful scarves and warm coats. It also can bring out joint pain that is associated with arthritis. 

Arthritis is common in senior cats and dogs or can occur secondarily if there has been trauma to the joint. Two primary kinds of arthritis are degenerative joint disease and inflammatory joint disease. 

DJD (degenerative joint disease) is far more common, affecting one in five adult dogs. The damage can progress with no outward symptoms until the joint is severely damaged and the lubricating fluid has lost its ability to protect the bone surfaces. This is why the degenerative form of arthritis is most often seen in older animals. Certain breeds of cats and dogs have an inherited predisposition to develop primary osteoarthritis. 

Treatments for arthritis can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, glucosamine supplements and pain-relief medications are options. 

Essential fatty acids have been shown to improve joint health and mobility. 

Some owners choose to try water physical therapy or acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to provide positive benefits for arthritis. 

Good exercise and proper joint diets, such as prescription Royal Canin Osteo or Science Diet J/D, can also help with arthritis, especially in larger breeds. 

Warmth can help ease discomfort. Provide warm blankets or making sure your pets are not kept outside too many hours in frigid temperatures. 

Using orthopedic bedding is recommended not just for arthritic pets but can also be comfortable to all. 

Pet of the Month

Our Pet of the Month is Leonardo DaVinci Wagner. He is an 8-year-old, domestic shorthair cat, with a gorgeous, gray, tabby coat and green eyes. 

He has had his fair share of medical issues, including when he suffered hepatic lipidosis last year and almost used up all of his nine lives. His mother, Autumn, a licensed veterinary technician, did everything in her power to keep him alive, including putting him on a feeding tube for about one month. 

Hepatic lipidosis is a fatty disease of the liver and is common in overweight felines. This disease occurs when the cat stops eating. Symptoms can start in as little as three days. 

It is a very dangerous disease but is also very treatable if you find the cause in time and provide proper nutritional supplementation. 

After numerous diagnostics and supportive feeding, Leo came back 100 percent and now enjoys bird watching and playing with his catnip mouse. 

MEGAN L. FOUCH is a receptionist at Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (

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