While the passing of time is inevitable, you can assist your pet in aging gracefully and comfortably for many years to come. Pain and stiffness from arthritis is common in geriatric pets. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to help put the pep back in your pet’s step. Integrative veterinary medicine is providing various alternative therapies that don’t rely solely on medication for pain management.
One of the few modalities in veterinary medicine that allows you to see improvement within minutes, chiropractic care is a wonderful tool to naturally relieve pain. It involves gently manipulating the spinal column or other joints back into alignment. This relieves pressure on the nerves, improves mobility and function, and allows the body to heal itself. A number of issues can be treated with chiropractic care, including:
- Hip dysplasia
- Neck and back injuries
- Subluxation of joints
If your pet suffers from arthritis, she can fall victim to a vicious cycle. Pain can cripple her from exercising, muscle mass is lost due to lack of movement, and then she becomes weak and is unable to exercise well due to lack of muscle. Getting her to move decreases pain, increases joint fluid, and helps preserve muscle mass.
Acupuncture is a great way to increase circulation, reduce pain, and keep your pet moving. During an acupuncture session, needles are inserted into specific points on the body, usually where nerves and blood vessels bunch together, stimulating pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory responses. In addition, muscles relax, which leads to a widespread pain-reducing effect. Acupuncture has few side effects and interactions with other treatments, and it increases tissue blood flow and oxygenation while removing toxins from the body.
Cold laser therapy
Cold laser therapy can help stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation. No shaving or sedation is required for this noninvasive procedure. As with most alternative treatments, several follow-up visits may be necessary to achieve the desired effect. Each session may take 10 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on the condition being treated.
For arthritis, the laser may be focused on knees, hips, and along the spine to help reduce inflammation and regenerate healthy cells. If your pet is not a fan of acupuncture needles, laser therapy is a great alternative that most pets will enjoy. In addition to alleviating arthritis pain, a cold laser can help:
- Heal surgical incisions
- Heal traumatic wounds
- Reduce scar tissue development
- Improve nerve function and regeneration
- Release painful trigger points
- Regulate the immune system
Weight can be a difficult subject to discuss, but losing just a few pounds can make a massive difference in a pet’s life. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by a veterinary professional in 2017. That’s an astounding 50.2 million dogs and 56.5 million cats that weighed more than they should. Obesity is a huge problem among the pet population, and decreasing weight is the number one way to help alleviate pressure on arthritic joints. We know weight loss doesn’t come easy for two-legged or four-legged creatures, but here are a few tips to help your pet shed some pounds:
- Measure out your pet’s food with an accurate measuring cup.
- Feed frequent, small meals.
- Move your pet’s food bowl to the far corner of the house and on a different floor, if possible.
- Try using small, healthy treats, such as fresh fruits and veggies, or lean sources of protein.
- Encourage exercise with exciting new toys, fresh games, and more interaction.
Your pet doesn’t understand that her extra weight is harming her. It’s up to you to be a steward of your pet’s health, and make healthy decisions for her.
Is your pet slow to rise? Can’t romp at the park anymore? Unable to jump up onto her beloved chair? Schedule an appointment today to relieve your pet’s arthritis pain and to help her enjoy all her favorite activities again.