Osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans and almost one in 5 dogs in households in the US. Symptoms include lameness, stiffness and pain in the joints, pain when rising or exercising or tenderness to the touch in the affected joints.
What Causes Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is caused by a gradual wearing-down of the spongy cartilage between the joints - cartilage that is meant to protect and cushion the joint during movement. As it thins, the ends of the bones begin to wear against each other. This continual touching and grinding causes bone deformities and pain. Two nutritional ingredients are of utmost importance in the maintenance of joint function: Glucosamine serves as a "building block" for healthy cartilage development while Chondroitin Sulfate helps the cartilage remain fluid and supple to enhance its cushioning and shock-absorbing qualities.
Some pets suffer from Osteoarthritis due to general age and condition. Working dogs or dogs who are engaged in repetitive motion exercise such as agility training tend to exhibit earlier. Large breeds are very prone to become symptomatic at an earlier age. Breeds with high incidence of hip dysplasia certainly suffer greatly. And traumatic injury to the bone or joint area can cause problems.
Prevention and Cure
Dozens of studies have shown that many of the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be minimized, or even eliminated, by adding Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfates to the intake of affected animals. Studies with rats showed dramatic differences in the incidence of induced osteoarthritis in animals who received arthritis treatments of Glucosamine and Chondroitin vs. those that did not.
Don't wait. Early intervention is essential to help prevent the disease. Even young dogs who are not exhibiting symptoms should have Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfates added to their daily vitamin regimen to help keep the cartilage strong and supple. This is important for all breeds but is particularly important in breeds whose genetic pre-disposition includes joint diseases such as hip dysplasia.
Pets who are already exhibiting symptoms of stiffness or pain can definitely benefit from added supplements. Any cartilage that is still useful will benefit greatly from more fluid content. And your dog's natural cartilage-building will be enhanced by Glucosamine additions. Pain can be reduced and damage slowed.
Types of Arthritis Supplements
There are many ways to add the required supplements to your dog's diet. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are now added to biscuits, wafer treats, meaty chew treats and everyday tablets. Liquid supplements are easy and tasty. See Arthritis Supplements and Treats
Tips for Healthy Bone Maintenance
Keep your pet at a slender weight. Overweight animals suffer considerably more pain that dogs of normal weight. Add supplements for joint strength. Also change the exercise requirements. While exercise is important, walking is less damaging than running. Purchase an arthritis-friendly pet bed with extra-heavy cushioning.
Under no circumstances should information presented here be construed as veterinary in nature. Always consult your veterinarian if problems persist.