Arthritis & Your Pet
It’s a joint effort!
Just like humans, pets can suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints characterized by a breakdown of cartilage and the rubbing of bone-on-bone. If left untreated, arthritis in our animal companions can lead not only to chronic pain but long-term mobility issues.
There are several factors that contribute to your pet developing arthritis. They include:
- Advancing age
- Previous injury
It’s often difficult to tell when our pets have arthritis. It’s especially hard with cats, as they hide their pain well. General symptoms include limping, spinal issues like a hunch or a back that is sensitive to touch, tiredness, loss of muscle and constant licking, chewing or biting sensitive areas.
If you suspect your pet might be suffering from arthritis, we can help!
To begin, if your pet is carrying a few extra pounds, we can recommend a specialty diet to help him or her shed the unhealthy weight, which, in turn, can lessen the burden your pet’s joints are forced to carry.
We can also advise you on a healthy exercise regimen for your furry family member. Gentle exercise like short walks can help, but don’t push your pet. That could put too much stress on the joints. Talk to your vet if you’re unsure about your pet’s limits.
If diet and exercise aren’t doing the trick, we’d be happy to discuss other pain management strategies, including the prescription of safe and effective medications, regenerative medicine and CBD products (link to Alternative Treatments & regenerative Medicine page),to alleviate your pet’s symptoms and help them get back into tail-wagging and pouncing shape.
Want to chat with your vet about arthritis and your pet? Schedule an appointment by calling (713) 344-1570.
The skinny on fat pets
Losing weight seems to be on nearly everyone’s to-do list at one time or another—but humans aren’t the only ones with an excess poundage problem. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half the dogs and cats in the U.S. are significantly overweight. Just like people, when pets are overweight they’re more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.
The fact is that well-loved pets are often too-well-fed pets. Here are some other helpful tips for regulating your pet’s food intake and activity:
- Measure your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
- Place food into toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward (food puzzle).
- Hide kibble around the house so that your cat must hunt for food, or put it high on a kitty tree
- Spread meals out throughout the day (but make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
- Play with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats
If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight, your Haven Veterinary Clinic veterinarian can help! Schedule an appointment by calling us at (713) 344-1570.
Diabetes & Your Pet
Yes, it can be managed!
Just as in humans, diabetes in pets is the result of the pancreas producing less of the hormone insulin than is needed or the animal’s cells becoming resistant to insulin.
Carbohydrates in your pet’s food get converted to various sugars, including glucose. Without insulin—or if the cells are resistant to insulin—the glucose can’t enter the body’s cells. That sugar then accumulates in the blood.
While this disease can’t usually be cured, it can be successfully managed with appropriate treatment and monitoring.
Haven Veterinary Clinic is here to help. We can instruct you on making lifestyle changes that may make managing diabetes easier for you and your pet. They include:
- Changing your pet’s food to a formula with lower carbohydrates and higher protein
- Switching to reduced-calorie food and treats
- Monitoring glucose levels with blood and urine testing.
If your pet is diagnosed with diabetes, we’ll be happy to teach you everything you need to know about giving insulin, performing blood and urine tests if needed, and answering any questions you may have.
Based on your pet’s blood glucose levels and medical status, your veterinarian will adjust the insulin dose as necessary over the first few weeks or months. Consistent care and daily doses of insulin will help your animal companion continue to lead a normal, healthy life.
Remember, the Haven Veterinary Clinic staff and doctors are happy to answer any questions you may have about managing your pet’s disease and your pet’s health in general. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need assistance—we’re here to make sure your animal companion has as many happy, healthy years as possible. Call us at (713) 344-1570.