Category: JOINTS

Joint Health

The Importance of Joint Health

Joints are very important to the function of the body. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to injury either from congenital issues such as hip dysplasia or luxating patellas, injuries from a misstep or overuse, or even getting hit by a car. The long- term damage is often noted much later in life and can significantly impair movement, comfort and quality of life.

Exercise to Maintain Muscle Function

Movement is the enemy of arthritis. It is important for animals to stay active to prevent the loss of muscle tone and further stiffening of the joints. Our team can tailor an exercise plan to keep your pet’s muscles strong and supportive for best function and ongoing mobility.
Swimming is often a very good choice to support muscle health, without your pet having to bear the load of their weight.

Joint Function

Joints allow bodies to move. There are multiple joints in the limbs, such as the knees, hips, hocks, elbows and joints in the phalanges (finger and toes), and the spine itself is a long series of joints. Synovial fluid, or joint fluid helps keep comfortable movement of the joints, and ligaments and tendons support the boney and muscle attachment to the joints. Damage to joints can look many different ways including infection in the synovial fluid, damage to the ligaments or tendons, or even muscles that are uneven in strength pulling joints in uneven ways causing damage to the cartilage and bone. Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease, happens when the cartilage gets damaged and the body creates what are called Osteophytes. Osteophytes are boney protrusions that interrupt normal movement of the joint, causing pain and stiffness.

Supporting Healthy Joint Function

Keeping joints healthy is very important to your pet’s quality of life. Bark and Bliss carries many options to maintain joint health, starting from our Purina Proplan ®diets that have building blocks for healthy joints in all diets. In addition, we have prescription diets for joint support, highly effective and bioavailable joint supplements, injectable joint protectants, as well as multimodal pain treatments and anti-inflammatories when quality of life is affected by the pain.

We also have Class IV Therapeutic Lasers that can provide a great deal of comfort and pain relief for ailing joints, for better mobility and best quality of life. 

The Importance of Weight Management

Pet’s joints were meant to bear the normal lean body muscle mass they should have for their frame. Overweight pets are prone to further joint concerns due to the joints being overused. This leads to break down of cartilage faster than would be the case in a healthy weight pet, and in general in 2-3 years shorter of a life span when compared to pets of a healthy weight. 

Exercise and diet are both key to maintaining a healthy weight in your pet. Our team can help guide you for the proper amount to feed your pets to avoid weight gain and maintain a healthy

Diagnosis of Joint Disease

A physical exam can often identify crepitance, the hallmark of Degenerative Joint Disease, often even before noticeable changes are visible in your pet’s mobility. Radiographs in some cases are needed to further define the damage and best course of action going forward.

Treatments for Joint Conditions

Joint concerns are very individual and treatment often requires a specific approach for that particular pet’s lifestyle, ailment and level of ease at taking medications, and availability of the owner to work on therapies with us and at home. In some cases, surgery is required, and others a supplement or diet change is all that’s needed, whereas other animals need supplementation, medications and laser treatments to feel their best. Let us get your pet on the therapy that works best for them.

  • Firstly, when your dog gets worked up give them a verbal cue that works to both catch their attention and provides them with something to do. That cue can be “sit,” “down,” or even “relax.” You just want to make sure you can use it consistently.
  • Secondly, use the word until your dog performs the behavior that you want, such as lying down, sitting at your feet, or even just stopping what they are doing and looking at you. You may have to show them what to do the first few times until they get the hang of it.