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- Even with our dogs, aging is associated with various changes that affect all areas of life.
- If we closely accompany our animals, observe them attentively and support them in a targeted manner, they can still be fit, agile and full of joie de vivre in their senior years.
- Osteoarthritis is a common problem in older dogs. It is accompanied by increasing wear and tear of the articular cartilage. Pain and reduced mobility are the consequences.
- Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but it can be treated. The therapy should not only relieve pain and inflammation, but above all preserve and protect the articular cartilage and thus the mobility of the dog for as long as possible.
- In addition to pain therapy to relieve acute pain, long-term therapy is recommended B. the very well tolerated biological veterinary drug Zeel ad us. vet.: Its coordinated ingredients (including comfrey and arnica) have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, but above all cartilage-protecting and regenerative properties. The drug can also be combined well with other preparations.
In the past full of energy and zest for action, today calmer and leisurely: A lot changes with the aging dog. But how does the aging process manifest itself? And above all: What can we do for our animals so that they remain fit and mobile in their senior years and we can still have a lot of fun together? An important prerequisite for this is a stable, healthy musculoskeletal system. And to get this Luckily we can do something.
Aging is not a disease but a natural process. Just like with us humans, it gradually affects all areas of life in dogs. We may recognize the first signs of aging by the first gray hairs or a decreasing joy of movement. Less obvious signs may include a decreased appetite, dental problems, weight gain, or more frequent infections due to a weakened immune system. Despite everything, many dog owners describe life with a senior as a special experience because the relationship becomes more intimate and intense. The good news: if we closely accompany our darling, observe it attentively and support it in a targeted manner, the autumn of the dog’s life can become a wonderful time for four-legged friends and two-legged friends.
How the crunching gets into the joint
For dogs, joie de vivre means exercise above all. Since the musculoskeletal system also changes over the years, it is the focus of older dogs. This applies in particular to the joints, whose cartilage layer, which serves as a “shock absorber”, is increasingly worn and loses its elasticity. At the same time, less synovial fluid, also known as synovial fluid, is produced. All of these changes lead to damage to the cartilage. The friction in the joint causes pain and recurrent inflammation also promotes the breakdown of the cartilage. A vicious circle! Injuries that have healed badly, joints that have been over and under stress, as well as being overweight and lack of exercise favor this process, since the articular cartilage works like a sponge: it only absorbs synovial fluid, which supplies it with important nutrients, through regular stress and relief. Osteoarthritis therefore progresses faster without movement.
How does osteoarthritis show up in dogs?
At the beginning of arthrosis, the owner and dog usually do not notice much. Maybe the dog doesn’t like going for a walk anymore or shows initial problems getting up and laying down. If the cartilage degradation progresses, the problems become obvious: there is often a significant shrinkage after lying down for a long time, climbing stairs becomes increasingly difficult and the dog sways on its hindquarters when running. During this phase, dogs often have trouble lifting their legs, scratching behind their ears, or rolling around. And even if dogs are sensitive to pain when certain muscles or joints are touched, this can be an indication of arthrosis. Pronounced cases of arthrosis almost always manifest as lameness.
When treating arthrosis, always think about cartilage protection
If arthrosis is suspected, the veterinarian can make an exact diagnosis and initiate appropriate therapy by means of assessment while moving, thorough palpation and imaging procedures such as X-rays. Although arthrosis cannot be cured because the cartilage is permanently damaged, it can be treated. Because the therapy is usually necessary for the rest of life, it should be well tolerated, easy to use and have as few side effects as possible, and it should be combinable with other products or drugs. It is important that treatment is not aimed solely at relieving pain and inflammation. Rather, it should also preserve and protect the articular cartilage and thus the mobility of the dog for as long as possible. In addition to pain therapy, the additional administration of veterinary medicines that protect the articular cartilage is recommended as long-term therapy. Here z. B. the biological veterinary drug Zeel ad us. vet tried and tested (eg as tablets): Its coordinated ingredients such as comfrey and arnica have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, but above all cartilage-protecting and regenerative properties.
What is good for a dog with osteoarthritis?
- Since the joint cartilage can only be supplied with sufficient nutrients through activity, dogs with osteoarthritis need regular exercise. It is important that the dog is not overwhelmed. Several small, relaxed walks throughout the day are therefore well suited. Swimming is also good for the senior because the joints are moved particularly gently in the water.
- Mental activity is just as important as physical activity. Search and intelligence games or balance exercises, for example, are good for stimulating the dog’s attention.
- It is also important that the senior dog gets enough breaks. Fixed berths are ideal for this, to which he can withdraw at any time.
- Being overweight should be reduced or avoided with appropriate feeding, although care must always be taken to ensure an optimal supply of the important nutrients.
Basically, it is important to always keep a close eye on the senior and to pay attention to changes in behavior. In addition, the four-legged friend should be thoroughly examined by the veterinarian once or twice a year in order to best support and maintain their health in old age and to identify arthrosis at an early stage.
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