Pet Care Articles...

At Village Veterinary Practice, we care about your pet's well being and home care as much as their medical health. Below you will find some articles that we have written to help you take care of your pet.

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Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease): A Crippling Disease

Osteoarthritis(OA) or Degenerative Joint Disease is a progressive destruction of cartilage found on joint surfaces and can result in significant pain for our pets. OA has been report to be the #1 cause of chronic pain in dogs. While this disease can affect dogs and cats at any life stage, most pets are affected in their middle to senior years. A study in journal of American Veterinary Medical Association found that 31% of dog owners said that bone and joint problems are is issue for their pets.

Osteoarthritis is usually the result of a primary joint problem causing instability (e.g. hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament rupture). The diagnosis of OA is based on radiographs, but treatment is based on symptoms. There is no cure for the disease, but there are many ways to slow the progression and reduce your petsí pain.

Significant advances in understanding Osteoarthritis have resulted in new options to slow the progression of the disease through nutritional, physical, and medical support. Nutritional support is vital in helping during the early stage of the disease. There are many specific diets created to slow the destruction of joint cartilage, as well as, reduce obesity in our animals. Appropriate exercise and/or physical therapy programs designed by your veterinarian are intended to promote increased circulation of the joint without increasing destructive inflammation. During the chronic phase when significant pain is evident, your veterinarian can offer several options for pain management to improve his/her quality of life.

Osteoarthritis can be a frustrating problem, but with your veterinarianís assistance it can be managed and offer a longer and healthier relationship with you and your pet. Ask us at Village Veterinary Practice for help and advise if you have any questions.

Health status and population characteristics of dogs and cats examined at private veterinary practices in the United States. Lund EM, Armstrong PJ, Kirk CA, et al. JAVMA 214:1336-1341, 1999.

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