Watching your pet struggle with uncomfortable, painful or debilitating bone diseases can be distressing. While bone-related issues are common among dogs and cats, the heartening fact is that almost all such conditions can be positively managed with early diagnosis and proper care.
Pet owners must be vigilant to early signs and symptoms such as jerking away when bony areas or joints are touched; limping or changes in gait; refusal to climb stairs, jump or run; and joint swelling with or without discoloration. The underlying causes can vary from developmental, nutritional, infectious and trauma to idiopathic, but a timely physical examination by your vet and additional tests can reveal the root of the problem and help increase your pet’s comfort.
What can you, as a pet parent, do to prevent or control bone-related issues?
Know your pet’s history
Try and get your pets from ethical breeders to minimize inherited bone disorders. If you are adopting a pet, read up on the breed since some are more prone to bone diseases like hip dysplasia than others. Forewarned is forearmed.
Plan vet visits
Have the physical condition of your pet assessed regularly. Vets can catch congenital bone disorders early, allowing your puppy or kitten to have a better quality of life by controlling progressive symptoms. For instance, according to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, 95 percent of animals that have genes for hip dysplasia will show evidence on x-rays by 2 years of age. Further, vets can treat infections and fractures or suggest palliative care for chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Provide a balanced diet
Vet-recommended diets and supplements can increase the bone/joint strength of your pet and maintain their weight to reduce the strain on their joints. It can also eliminate nutritional deficiencies and help control inflammatory conditions.
Don’t miss play time
Exercises can work wonders for your bone-troubled pet. As urban pet parents juggle with lack of time and physical fatigue, pets often suffer the consequences earlier than their over-stretched parents. Do not miss your pet’s daily play and exercise time. For pets that are already unwell, controlled exercises, such as stretching or swimming, are crucial to rehabilitation.
Control their environment
Try and keep your pets at a suitable temperature and humidity conditions. For instance, cold and damp can aggravate arthritis. Accident-proof their stay and play area . Provide the animals with padded bedding, anti-skid floors, and ramps to reduce trauma.
Be as supportive as possible
Go the extra mile to care for your sick pets. Discuss options such as pain medication, therapeutic drugs, or surgery with your vet. Ask about adjunct options like massage or acupuncture to improve flexibility and overall well-being. A low-stress environment and loving support can make your pet feel so much better.