1.Degenerative Joint Disease


What is Degenerative Joint Disease?


Degenerative joint disease, also referred to as osteo-arthritis is a very common condition in both

cats and dogs, and is often seen in older animals. In degenerative joint disease, the cartilage surrounding

the joint changes, breaks down slowly and deteriorates as a result of wear and tear.  The cartilage actually

erodes together with areas of bone. The most common areas of the body that are affected include the hip,

spine knees, elbows and wrist joints. This is an extremely painful, progressive disease that will continue to

worsen.  Dogs tend to be more susceptible to degenerative joint disease than cats but certain breeds,

especially large breeds such as Labrador-retriever, German shepherd, or Golden retrievers suffer more

from joint and bone problems. As soon as you notice any signs that may indicate that your dog or cat has

difficulty walking, consult your vet. Degenerative joint disease is manageable and animals can enjoy quality

of life if treated early. The common symptoms and signs of degenerative joint disease include:


Reduced level of activity

Difficulty getting up and down, running, jumping, climbing stairs or grooming

Stiff-legged gait

Sore or swollen joints- often associated with muscle and joint problems such as tenderness, warmth, redness, inflammation, stiffness and pain.    

Stiffness

Lameness

Limping       

Lagging behind on walks

Cries or whines in pain when the affected joint is touched       
Sensitive to cold weather
      
Lethargy
In addition, behavioral changes such as irritability, aggression, nervousness, depression or withdrawal may also be present. 


What causes Degenerative Joint Disease?

The exact cause of degenerative joint disease has not yet been established.

There are various causes that may contribute to secondary degenerative joint disease and these include:


Excessive wear and tear on the joints and cartilage

Trauma

Obesity

Congenital defects from birth, for example hip or elbow dysplasia

Osteochondritis dissecans

Dislocation of the shoulder or kneecap

Underlying disorders such as diabetes, hyperlaxity or the overuse of steroid medication


Diagnosing Degenerative Joint Disease  


The diagnosis of degenerative joint disease is based on the symptoms, a thorough orthopedic exam and review of the pet’s history. Certain tests such as x-rays, contrast studies, a force plate or aspiration of joint fluid may performed to determine the diagnosis of degenerative joint disorders.


Help for Degenerative Joint Disease Depending on the cause, severity of degenerative joint disease and your pet’s overall health, there are various treatment options available to alleviate symptoms. Your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications which include acetaminophen, NSAIDS, and corticosteroids to control pain and reduce joint swelling. More serious cases of arthritis or osteoarthritis may require surgery such as joint replacement or removal as well as reconstructive procedures to repair or rebuild joint cartilages. Alternative treatments such as physical therapy, hydrotherapy,  massage therapy, applying warm compresses, such as hot water bottles to those aching, stiff joints   may also be beneficial in increasing range of motion. A few things that you as a pet owner can do at home is to ensure that your pet maintains a healthy weight, eats a well balanced, premium diet to balance the immune system and encourage gentle exercise such as walking and swimming.


Natural Remedies Natural and holistic treatments have been found to be highly effective in supporting the joints and skeletal system as well as overall health of your pet. Herbal ingredients and nutritional substances are a safe and gentle alternative without any unwanted side effects.  Please remember that these act by blocking certain pathways in the pain response but long-term use must be carefully considered as adverse effects include gastro-intestinal problems such as poor appetite, vomiting and gastro-intestinal ulcers ( using

NSAIDS or corticosteroids for a long time may damage the lining in the stomach and may cause many other side effects : certain NSAIDs can also cause damage to the kidneys). There’s no way to prevent arthritic changes whether they’re simply due to the ageing process or because of earlier trauma to the joint. Certainly prompt treatment of any suspected joint or bone injury is highly recommended and making sure that your pet doesn’t become overweight will minimize the chances of arthritis developing.

That is why I recommend from the beginning alternative treatments for this life changing condition. Researchers found Curamin BCM-95 as a very helpful supplement for any pain and inflammation in the body, especially the joints. Additionally Glucosamine supplements or Genacol – natural pure collagen rebuilds the cartilage in the joints to prevent from further destruction. They strengthen and support healthy joints and alleviate pain and inflammation. Also herbal ingredients such as Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's Claw) and Arthrospira platenis (Spirulina) have anti-inflammatory properties and are beneficial in the treatment of degenerative joint diseases. All are available at our store.

Also from essential oils, I would suggest a regular Raindrop Technique on the animal, as many of the essential oils used in this technique can help bring about electrical alignment and helps promote internal balance. Other essential oils that you could apply to location that may help are: Panaway Essential Oil Blend, Wintergreen Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Copaiba Essential Oil. There is also a wonderful massage oil called OrthoEase that warms tired and stressed bodies. It contains Wintergreen, Thyme, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Vetiver, Eucalyptus globulus, Juniper, Eucalyptus radiata and Marjoram essential oils.

You may also want to consider a supplement BLM - it is a Young Living supplement which contains glucosamine sulphate, which has been shown to help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis. In addition, BLM supports cartilage and joint health and contains dimethyl sufone (MSM) and essential oils.


Although degenerative joint disease is painful and causes discomfort, there are a number of things that pet owners can do to alleviate the symptoms:

-Manage your pet’s weight by controlling his diet – if your pet is overweight, it puts more strain on their joints and exacerbates symptoms   
-Make sure that your pet receives adequate but gentle exercise – walking your dog three times per day and swimming will help to maintain muscle strength and movement. Steer
  clear of strenuous activities that involves lots of running such as playing fetch or throwing a Frisbee 
-Feed your dog or cat a healthy, high quality or all natural diet that contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients
-Build ramps so that your pet does not have to walk up stairs
-Elevate food and water bowls to make eating and drinking easier for pets
-Provide a soft and comfortable sleeping environment (like an old mattress) or invest in an orthopedic foam bed for your pet
-Keep your dog warm during cold weather when joint conditions usually worsen – make sure you add more blankets to his bed, slip a pet sweater on him and keep your home heated

-Apply a hot water bottle, heating pads or warm, soaked towels on the affected areas to relieve pain and stiffness 
-Massage your pet or ask your vet to perform physical therapy on the affected area to soothe and promote range of movement
-Ensure that your pet has sufficient rest, especially during the recovery period


2.Arthritis
What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a progressive disease and the simplest definition is inflammation of the joint. Any damage to the cartilage in the joint as well as the daily wear and tear that joints are subjected to during movement slowly destroys the thin layer of protective cartilage, and in response the body launches a reaction which leads to further cartilage destruction and inflammation. This is a classic no win situation and hence the progressive nature of arthritis.

Pets with arthritis may show no signs of lameness or discomfort but in other pets swelling of the joints, pain and creaking and clicking of the affected joints may be noted.
What are the symptoms of Arthritis?  
Limping
Difficulty getting up 
Pain when jumping   
Joints making a creaking or crackling sound      
Stiffness
Close
Limping    
Difficulty getting up     
Pain when jumping    
Joints making a creaking or crackling sound     
Stiffness
What causes Arthritis? The causes are many and include trauma, such as cruciate ligament rupture, infection, and immune-mediated diseases or may even result due to malformation of the limbs such as bulldogs and daschunds.

Diagnosing Arthritis

A diagnosis will be based on a history of trauma – if the cause is injury or a gradual decline in mobility if it is age related. The vet will take x-rays and possibly blood tests.

Help for Arthritis

Treatment for arthritis may be medical or surgical. Nonsurgical therapies include weight reduction (never underestimate the importance of this), controlled exercise on soft surfaces and/or hydrotherapy, and applying warm compresses, such as hot water bottles to those aching, stiff joints. Conventional medicine also makes use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, meloxicam, carprofen, phenylbutazone and corticosteroids. These act by blocking certain pathways in the pain response but long-term use must be carefully considered as adverse effects include gastro-intestinal problems such as poor appetite, vomiting and gastro-intestinal ulcers ( like in osteoarthritis).

As a conscientious pet owner you obviously wish to do all you can to restore your pet to health and vitality. As part of a holistic, natural approach to the health of your pet’s musculoskeletal system, a well balanced, natural, organic diet will supply all the nutrients needed to keep muscles, joints and bones in optimal health ( raw food is always the best option). Additionally you can provide natural pain relief from the discomfort of arthritis by using natural remedies containing Glucosamine, Collagen, Curcumin BCM-95,  fish oil and Lecithin or Joint Mobility in powder, K9 Vegetarian Glucosamine or Run Free from Holistic Pet Organics. All are available at our store.

Also from essential oils, I would suggest a regular Raindrop Technique on the animal, as many of the essential oils used in this technique can help bring about electrical alignment and helps promote internal balance. Other essential oils that you could apply to location that may help are: Panaway Essential Oil Blend, Wintergreen Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Copaiba Essential Oil. There is also a wonderful massage oil called OrthoEase that warms tired and stressed bodies. It contains Wintergreen, Thyme, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Vetiver, Eucalyptus globulus, Juniper, Eucalyptus radiata and Marjoram essential oils.

You may also want to consider a supplement BLM - it is a Young Living supplement which contains glucosamine sulphate, which has been shown to help relieve the pain of arthritis. In addition, BLM supports cartilage and joint health and contains dimethyl sufone (MSM) and essential oils.

Controlled exercise is an important part of managing arthritis in your pet. Although your dog may object to going out for a walk, by getting him/her up and walking, blood circulation to all those painful joints will be improved and the inflammatory substances that are involved in the discomfort of arthritis will be flushed away.

This is the reason that most owners report that the stiffness often disappears after a bit of exercise or even with warmer weather when circulation is less sluggish. Your arthritic cat will also benefit from a gentle game of seek-and-destroy the catnip mouse.

3. Rheumatism

What is Rheumatism?

Rheumatism is a condition that causes pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness and damage to the joint cartilage of both animals and humans. Rheumatism in animals has a tendency to affect the hind quarters - joints, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons of the lower half of the body (hips, legs and hocks).
This condition is most commonly seen in the older dog with most of the pain due to muscle spasm. Joints are the areas where two bones meet such as the knee, hip, shoulder or elbow. They allow an animal’s body to move in many different ways. Damage to the joints can result in joint weakness, instability and visible deformities. Over time, as your pet ages, his or her joints naturally degenerate. However, when pets experience excessive pain and stiffness in their bodies it may be as a direct result of rheumatism.
There are many different signs and symptoms of rheumatism. Animals with rheumatism often experience joint inflammation, joint stiffness or the joint –may become inflamed, reddish in appearance, warm to the touch and swollen or tender. Some breeds are particularly prone to joint problems. Rheumatism symptoms may flare up suddenly or gradually over a period of time. You may notice your pet seems to be fatigued, has trouble sleeping. Rheumatism in cats may cause your cat to have trouble jumping.

What Causes Rheumatism?
The most common cause of rheumatism in pets is old age. Particular breeds may also be susceptible to rheumatism if they have been inbred too much. Rheumatism may also result from the accumulation of waste metabolic products in the muscles. As a pet owner, the food you feed your pet is also important, as certain foods can relieve the symptoms of rheumatism helping to eliminate toxic waste from the system. Domestic dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors (especially in freezing weather) are more likely to suffer with rheumatism. Additional weight will also put extra strain on joints, so if your cat or dog is obese or heavier than he or she should be, it may be time for a healthier diet. Other causes may include:

Abnormal bone or joint development
Instability of the surrounding ligaments and tendons
Damage to joints    
Infection
Injury caused by a weak immune system

Diagnosing Rheumatism

The diagnosis of rheumatism is based on your pet’s symptoms, physical examination and medical history. Additional tests such X-rays and blood tests may be ordered by your vet to determine the severity of the rheumatism. Help for Rheumatism Conventional treatment usually consists of anti-inflammatory treatments (such as Rimadyl). These medications may stop the inflammation in the short term and help make activity more comfortable, yet these drugs may contribute to unpleasant side effects for your pet. Supportive treatments such as physical therapy, hydrotherapy, mobilization, tens, relaxation therapy or acupuncture can also reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness.

Natural Remedies
There are many natural herbal and homeopathic remedies that can help to reduce joint pain and help keep animals limber.
Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's Claw) is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory used world-wide for osteo-arthritis, fibrositis, rheumatism, small joint disease and lower backache.
Curamin BCM-95 works by improving ease of movement in the body. It is a wonderful  inflammation reliever. Regular use will help to improve mobility and reduce the pain. Also from essential oils, I would suggest a regular Raindrop Technique on the animal, as many of the essential oils used in this technique can help bring about electrical alignment and helps promote internal balance. Other essential oils that you could apply to location that may help are:
Panaway Essential Oil Blend, Wintergreen Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Copaiba Essential Oil.
There is also a wonderful massage oil called OrthoEase that warms tired and stressed bodies. It contains Wintergreen, Thyme, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Vetiver, Eucalyptus globulus, Juniper, Eucalyptus radiata and Marjoram essential oils. You may also want to consider a supplement BLM - it is a Young Living supplement which contains glucosamine sulphate, which has been shown to help relieve the pain. In addition, BLM supports cartilage and joint health and contains dimethyl sufone (MSM) and essential oils. All are available at our store.

Tips related to Rheumatism for dogs and cats
-Try as hard as you can to put down slip-free flooring. A rug or carpet can also provide a firm grip for your pet while they recover. For dogs, swimming is a great way to stretch the joints without added strain. -Monitor your dog at all times in the pool, and ensure that they don’t overdo it! 
-Soft bedding is essential. Your cat or dog should be provided with soft, comfortable area to sleep.       
-Let your children know that they need to be understanding, and handle your dog or cat with care. Animals need quiet time to rest and recuperate and should not be bothered.
-If your pet is up for it, and seems to be willing, a gentle massage can work wonders to help increase flexibility and blood circulation. If you are not confident will your massaging skills, seek the help of a professional massage therapist.


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