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Frankston Heights Veterinary Centre
231 Frankston-Flinders Rd
Frankston, VIC, 3199

nurses@frankstonvet.com.au
frankstonvet.com.au
Phone: 03 5971 4888

 

 

A huge thank you to our clients for their contribution to the West Arnhem Dog Health Project.

Lucy will be heading to NT early in July taking this swag of donated goods AND additional funds to purchase our surgical supplies.

 

This year 3 groups of vets and final year vet students will be providing parasite control and desexing procedures to communities in West Arnhem Land, West Daly Shire, and to Croker and South Goulburn Islands.

 

This is the 13th year the program has run and we are delighted is has grown to involve more communities, and become an established annual visit which has seen the health of the dogs improve significantly.

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Contents of this newsletter

01  Lenno's arthritis

02  The subtle signs of arthritis

03  How to make your home arthritis friendly

04  The many ways we can treat arthritis

05  Cat hits dog's turbo button

01 Lenno's arthritis
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Last month we introduced you to Lenno. He had recently been diagnosed with dry eye and had commenced on some eye medication to help improve his tear production. We are pleased to say that he has responded well to the medication and his eyes are improving. He will need regular tear tests and ongoing medication but things are looking good (pardon the pun).

This month we'd like to discuss Lenno's arthritis. He suffers from osteoarthritis of the hip as he has mild hip joint deformity. The ball of his hip joint doesn't sit in the socket very well allowing extra mobility and wear and tear of the joint.

This is a mild form of hip dysplasia. It is genetic and can affect certain breeds of dogs (mostly large breed dogs) but there are also environmental factors involved including diet, obesity and exercise.

Diagnosis was made with a thorough veterinary examination and was confirmed with x-rays.

Lenno's arthritis is managed with monthly arthritis injections and strict weight management. Lenno loves food so this might sound like a challenge but thankfully it's not so bad as he is on a prescription diet to keep his weight in a healthy range avoiding extra stress on his joints. It also helps to preserve joint cartilage and slow the progression of his arthritis. 

If you would like more information about arthritis and the treatments available we encourage you to read on as we have plenty of 'gems' to share this month.

02 The subtle signs of arthritis
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Our pets are more likely to feel the effects of arthritis during the colder weather so now is the best time for an arthritis check with us. Most of the signs of arthritis are subtle and you may not even realise your pet is in pain.

Arthritis is caused by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. This cartilage usually helps joints move freely and comfortably but over time, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together. 

Your pet may not necessarily have a limp and won't yelp or cry out in pain. Watch out for the more subtle signs:

Dogs:

  • Trouble jumping up on to furniture or in to the boot of the car
  • Stiff and sore especially in the morning or after lying down
  • Slow to stand up after rest.
  • Sleeping more and lying around for longer periods of time
  • Changes in behaviour such as being more grumpy than usual
  • Muscle loss along the spine and down the legs

Cats

  • Hesitant to jump down from your lap or from furniture
  • Using a series of several small jumps to reach a surface 
  • Land in a heap when jumping down
  • Reluctant to climb
  • Reduced grooming leading to a poorly kept coat and matted fur 

Don’t be tempted to put these changes down to 'just getting old' as your pet may be in significant pain. Arrange a check up with us so we can examine your pet thoroughly.

03 How to make your home arthritis friendly
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To help your arthritic pet live a comfortable life there are a few things you can do at home:

Our number one tip is to keep your pet’s weight in a healthy range to reduce the load on the joint.

If your pet is carrying even just 10% more bodyweight than is ideal they can really suffer, as can their joints. Ask us for the best diet recommendation for your pet.

Other things you can do at home:

  • Provide a dry and comfortable bed with a relatively firm surface to aid standing up.
  • Provide non slip surfaces underneath your dog's bed, food bowls and in high traffic areas.
  • Heated beds are a good idea for winter
  • Use a portable ramp to help your dog get in and out of the car 
  • Provide an additional piece of furniture so your cat doesn't have to jump so high to reach his favourite spot
  • Continue to exercise your pet in moderation; gentle daily walks for dogs help keep the joints moving and muscles active
When it comes to arthritis and your pet, we are always here to answer your questions. We will help keep your pet happy and comfortable and most importantly, pain free. 
04 The many ways we can treat arthritis
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If your pet has been diagnosed with arthritis don't despair! There are multiple ways we can treat the disease and help your pet live a longer and more comfortable life.

They key to managing the disease is a multi-targeted approach. If we use a combination of treatments it can help reduce the need for large amounts of medication and lessen the potential side effects of any one treatment.

Some of the treatments might include:

1. Disease modifying drugs 
Given as a regular injection, these help to relieve pain and help to preserve joint cartilage. They can also improve the joint fluid meaning the joints are better lubricated and more comfortable when they move. They can be given as weekly, monthly or tri-monthly injections. 

2. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
These help to reduce pain and inflammation. They can be given short term but may be needed for the rest of your pet’s life (as long as we monitor your pet’s kidney and liver function). They can be given in conjunction with other pain reducing drugs. Never give human pain relief medications to your pet without seeking our advice first. 

3. Diets formulated for joint health
A diet high in essential fatty acids (with added nutriceuticals as discussed below) may help reduce inflammation, decrease pain and improve your pet’s mobility. Prescription joint diets can also help keep your pet in a healthy weight range meaning there is less weight on your pet's joints. Ask us about the specific prescription diets we have available for joint health.

4. Nutriceuticals
Fish oil and green lipped mussel contain high levels of Omega-3 and may help reduce inflammation and pain. Supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may improve joint function and slow down the progression of arthritis. Human supplements are not appropriate for our pets so it is best to ask us for the best nutriceutical for your pet.

If your pet has arthritis, we will come up with a treatment plan and work with you to ensure your pet lives a happy and comfortable life. If you are worried about your pet you should always phone us for advice. 

05 Cat hits dog's turbo button

Check out this hilarious video of a cat 'hitting a dog's turbo button'. It's safe to say that this dog doesn't have any mobility issues! We especially love the cat's reaction...