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Middle Brighton Veterinary Centre
762 Hampton St
Brighton, VIC, 3186

enquiries@middlebrightonvet.com.au
www.middlebrightonvet.com.au
Phone: 03 9592 9811

 

Welcome to June...

Winter can be a difficult time for our older pets so our focus this month is on arthritis. It's a major cause of discomfort for dogs and cats - and also for some rabbits. This newsletter is full of tips and helpful advice that will keep your pet active, safe and well in their senior years. 

Our fabulous offer for our dogs and cats 7 years of age and older will be available till the end of June- see our website for details. Blood and urine tests have a major role in keeping our pets well - they help us know what is going on inside of our pets; things that can remain hidden from the clinical examination. Our goal is always to keep our pets as happy and as healthy as we can and early detection of disease plays a critical role.

We've also got a special promotion in clinic that expires at the end of June - $20 off selected Hills Prescription !diets to keep your pet in tip top condition & a fun kibble count competition!

Keeping abreast of the current treatment options for the miriad of illness in the pets we treat is key in why our clients trust us - we regularly speak to local specialists and do a variety of Continual Professional Development courses. Dr Murray has dedicated the next 10 months to Ophthalmology where as Dr Anna has just completed a Masterclass on the Management of Diabetes in dogs and cats and has signed up for Dermatology later this month - which no doubt will come in handy with spring just around the corner! Last month Dr Murray, Marcus and Kendall headed off for a night of how to manage dogs with megaoesophagus - which has been in the news recently with a number of police dogs being affected with this debilitating condition.

We hope that you take us up on the wonderful offers this month and if you know someone who loves their pet as much as you do - then please share this newsletter with them so they too can learn to care for their furry friend!

Diabetes certificateVet-ophthalmology
Contents of this newsletter

01  Lenno's arthritis

02  The subtle signs of arthritis

03  The many ways we can treat arthritis

04  How to make your home arthritis friendly

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).

Like a lot of senior dogs, Lenno also has 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.

At this stage, Lenno's arthritis is managed with

  • monthly arthritis injections
  • 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. 
  • regular vet checks
With time it is expected that Lenno's arthritis will worsen and he will required additional medication to manage his discomfort better. Lenno is fortunate that we have a number of types of medications available that help reduce the joint inflammation and discomfort.
 

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
  • 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
  • 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 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.

The key to managing the disease lay in 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. Initially they are given as a series of 4 weekly injections every 6 months but may also be given as a single injection every month. 

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. 

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.

5. Pain relief

There are a number of medications that we use to reduce the pain associated with arthritis in dogs and cats  - they typically are used to make the brain less aware of pain sensations.

6. Accupuncture

Dr Marcus has been providing dogs with relief from their discomfort with acupuncture. 

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. 

04 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 plenty of padding
  • Heated beds are a good idea for winter
  • Use a portable ramp to help your dog get in and out of the car - even a small step ladder will help!
  • Provide an additional piece of furniture so your dog & cat doesn't have to jump so high to reach their 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. 
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...