Hot dog tips
Arthritis has become an expected part of our dogs' later years, but that doesn't mean that we have to just accept it! At the first signs of your dog looking a bit stiff, not wanting to walk as far, not managing to jump into the car unaided, visit your vet! It is likely your vet will agree; old age and slowing down equals arthritis, try some pain relief. but DON'T STOP THERE! Ask your vet to refer you for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy!
There a many things that can be done to slow the progression of this disease. There is no way of undoing any damage, but we can help stop more damage being done. The most important thing with arthritis is to keep your dog moving, but this needs to be done in the correct, controlled manner, and must be monitored.
Click here for access to my free osteoarthtis fact sheet, full of hints and tips to get you started before your first physio session!
Cruciate ligament disease
The cruciate ligament is found in the knee joint, and is vital for stabilising the upper part of the leg on the lower part of the leg when weight bearing. Unfortuneately, this is a common place for weakness and injury. Damage can range from the slightest of tears and subtle lameness, to a full rupture and point blank refusal to use the leg at all.
Some breeds are prone to weakness, but whatever the breed, if one cruciate ligament is ruptured, the ligament on the opposite leg is put under immense pressure whilst the ligament is healing. This weakens the healthy ligament. It is therefore common for both ligaments to rupture.
There are a few surgical options that your vet will discuss with you, but sometimes surgery is not an option, whether due to other medical factors (such as age or heart problems) or financial restraints. Either way, physiotherapy is a vital part of the healing process, in the run up to surgery and after, and especially if surgery is not an option.
The earlier physiotherapy is begun, the better results you will get. Here's some more details in my cruciate ligament disease factsheet.