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Enfield Veterinary Hospital
94 Coronation Parade
Enfield, NSW, 2136

enfieldvet@bigpond.com.au
Phone: 02 9747 3999

 

To All the Friends of Enfield Vet and their Pets,

This month's newsletter focuses on the issue of osteoarthritis in pets.

This is an incredibly common issue in most older dogs and cats - and sometimes in younger animals too. A common issue, however, that can be easily managed by your vet so that your pet does not need to suffer from the chonic and crippling pain that is very often associtaed with arthritis.

An article in the newsletter also talks about cruciate ligament disease and rupture in dogs - one of the most common "arthritic" conditions we see in dogs of all shapes and sizes.

The treatments for arthritis are multifactorial and often there are several treatments that need to be used in conjunction to make our pets as comfortable and pain free as possible.

If you have any questions after reading all the info feel free to call or make an appointment to have your pet assessed.

We hope you all had a fantastic Easter break!!

The Team at Enfield Vet Hospital

arthritis dogs pic
Contents of this newsletter

01  Could your pet have arthritis?

02  Why are cats so good at hiding arthritis?

03  Max has 'done his knee'

04  Mother's day vibes

05  Pet profile: Guinea Pigs

01 Could your pet have arthritis?

If you’re finding it a bit harder to get out of bed on these colder mornings, spare a thought for your pet. Arthritis loves to rear its ugly head around this time of the year and the reason your pet might be sleeping in more than usual could be due to pain.

Arthritis is characterised by the wearing down of the cartilage that covers the bones at the end of a joint. This cartilage usually helps joints move freely but as it wears down, the ends of the bones become exposed and rub together. This can be very painful and can really affect your pet’s quality of life.

Arthritis does seem to be worse in the colder months but it can certainly affect your pet all year round. It is very important to understand that your pet won’t necessarily limp or yelp if they are in pain so we recommend you watch out for these signs in your dog (we’ll talk more about cats in the article below):

  • Hesitant to jump into the car, up onto furniture or use stairs 
  • Lowers their body slowly when going to lie down then falls in a heap 
  • Is a bit slow to get going after getting up and may slip on floorboards 
  • Is slowing down on walks or is reluctant to walk as far as they used to 
  • Exhibits behavioural changes such as being a bit grumpier than usual

Try not to put any of the above changes down to your pet "just getting old". Even if your pet is a senior animal, they shouldn’t be uncomfortable!

The best news is that there are plenty of ways to manage arthritis. We work towards a multi-targeted approach where we use different drugs to reduce the overall dose rate and side effects of any one treatment.

Now is the perfect time for an arthritis check with us, phone now to make an appointment. 

02 Why are cats so good at hiding arthritis?

Cats are even better than dogs at hiding or covering up pain caused by arthritis. This is because cats spend much of their time sleeping and given that we generally don't take cats for a walk, it is harder to see a change in their mobility. As well as this, in the wild, they tend to hide and keep to themselves if they are sick or in pain. This is just another reason why it’s vital to keep a close eye on your feline friends and get them checked regularly by us. Look out for these subtle signs:

  • Landing 'in a heap' when jumping off furniture 
  • Hesitant when jumping up or down from the furniture and reluctant to climb the fence or trees 
  • No longer using the litter box properly (especially if it has high sides) 

Matted or scruffy coat (grooming is painful) and long nails because of reduced activity

Ask us for advice if you are worried about your cat. If we do diagnose arthritis, good pain management can make a huge difference and help your cat live a longer and happier life.

03 Max has 'done his knee'

Max the 8-year-old border collie was enjoying his morning run at the park but landed awkwardly when he went to catch the ball. That afternoon he wouldn’t place any weight on his left hind leg so a visit to us was scheduled ASAP.

An examination revealed all the signs of a ruptured cruciate ligament. This is one of the more common orthopedic injuries we see in dogs and if not treated effectively, can lead to painful arthritis. Some dogs will 'snap' the ligament after jumping off a height or turning quickly. These dogs present to us just as Max did and won’t put any weight on the leg. The disease can also be a degenerative condition and some dogs will present with a mild, intermittent lameness and thickening of the joint.

Max’s diagnosis was confirmed under a general anaesthetic where the stability of his knee was found to be compromised (because the ruptured ligament was no longer able to do its job at stabilising the knee). This is hard to determine when a dog is awake, especially if the knee is painful. Radiographs were also taken to look for swelling and arthritic changes.

Surgery to stabilise the knee joint is the best option for treatment and Max had surgery the next day and is recovering well. He needs to undergo careful rehabilitation but his prognosis for enjoying the park again in the future is good. To reduce the risk of him rupturing the other cruciate ligament, catching of balls will need to be limited.

It is important to realise that arthritis may still develop in the affected joint following surgery, but will be significantly reduced than if surgery was not performed.

If you are ever concerned about your pet please call us for advice, we are always here to help.

04 Mother's day vibes

With Mother’s Day falling this month we’d love to wish all the mothers of the animal kingdom a happy Mother’s Day and also share this heartwarming YouTube video.

05 Pet profile: Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs make great pets. They are very friendly and are a little easier to handle than rabbits. They make ideal pets for kids in preschool or above and it’s important to remember that they require a good diet and careful husbandry to help prevent health problems.

Here are our top tips:

Diet
Diet is very important. A guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously so they require lots of fibre to help wear them down. They also require Vitamin C in their diet as they are unable to produce it themselves. Abundant veggies and fruit are essential and they love red capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, parsley, spinach (plus lots of others!) Good quality pellets should be a treat (max 1 tablespoon per day).

Housing
Guinea pigs are social animals and are best kept inside to help to strengthen their relationship with you. They require dust-free bedding (e.g.shredded paper) and this needs to be changed daily. Providing hiding spots and tunnels is essential. If your guinea pig is kept outside, keep them safe from predators (dogs, cats, foxes, birds). They are very susceptible to heat stroke so bring them indoors when temperatures get above 28 degrees. Never keep guinea pigs inside a metal hutch as these heat up very quickly.

Friendships
Guinea pigs are picky about their friends. The best situation is usually a desexed male with two to three females. They are not great companions for rabbits as they have different dietary requirements to rabbits and often get beaten up by dominant rabbits. Rabbits can also carry a disease that is deadly to guinea pigs.

We are here to answer any questions you might have about your pet so always feel free to ask us for advice.