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Musculoskeletal System

Musculoskeletal SystemPet supplements to help support a healthy musculoskeletal system in dogs and cats.

Herbal remedies that promote bone health, nutritive support and help to prevent musculoskeletal disease in dogs and dogs.

The canine and feline musculoskeletal system has many components including bones, blood vessels, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and support organs that include the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Age, injuries and wear and tear can undermine your pet’s joints and connective tissue, causing stiff and aching joints, degenerative disease and trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body.

Degenerative joint disease, also referred to as osteoarthritis, often accompanied with rheumatism, 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. Rheumatism accumulates around the joints and bones as a result of inflammation. 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.

Large breed dogs and cats 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

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.

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, hyper laxity or the overuse of steroid medication

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.

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 boost the immune system and encourage gentle exercise such as walking and swimming.

Hip dysplasia in dogs is one form of arthritis. It refers to the abnormal growth or development of the ball and socket joint of the hips of dogs. Arthritis is a progressive disease related to inflammation of the joint.

Daily wear and tear and sustained damage to the cartilage in the joint slowly destroys the thin layer of protective cartilage. In response, the body creates an inflammatory reaction which furthers leads to cartilage destruction. Because of its self-replicating destructive nature, arthritis requires a product that helps to repair and rebuild cartilage and connective tissue, controls your pet’s inflammatory response and supports a healthy immune system.

In a healthy dog, the upper end of the thighbone (which is shaped like a ball) fits snugly into the socket of the hipbone, and the ball rotates freely, smoothly, and painlessly within the socket. The thighbone and the hipbone are shaped in such a way that they fix into each other perfectly to facilitate smooth movement. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. In addition, there is a very strong band of connective tissue which encircles the two bones to provide further stability.

Hip dysplasia in dogs is essentially a deformity of the hip joint. In a dog with hip dysplasia, the hip socket may be too shallow to fully and firmly hold the ball-shaped thighbone, or the muscles, ligament, and connective tissue surrounding the joint may not be strong enough to hold the “ball and socket” together. This results in pain and inflammation in one or both of the hip joints, causing difficulty for the dog to get up and walk with ease.

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a condition that can range from just a slight abnormality in the hip joint to the actual dislocation of the joint.

All dogs, young and old, can develop hip dysplasia. However, large breed growing puppies are more prone to develop this joint problem. In extreme cases, very young puppies (around 5 months of age) will start showing signs and symptoms (e.g. limping) during and after vigorous exercise. As time goes on and without medical treatment, these dogs may develop degeneration of the joint, arthritis, inflammation and pain. In serious cases, the dogs may not be able to walk at all.

However, more often than not, the symptoms do not start showing until the dog becomes older.

Heredity

Many veterinarians believe that hip dysplasia in dogs is caused by heredity. Some breeds of large dogs, such as German Shepherds, St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, etc. are more prone to hip dysplasia. It is also said that there is a high chance that dogs with hip dysplasia will pass the condition down onto their offsprings.

Over-vaccination

Many holistic veterinarians believe that over-vaccination can increase the risk of developing hip dysplasia in dogs. They advise that if your dog is young and is genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia, you should consider not vaccinating every year.

Diet

Feeding a diet that has too much or too little calcium or other minerals can also have a detrimental effect on the development of the hip joint. In addition, vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamin C) can also cause canine hip dysplasia.

Dogs and cats that are fed low-quality commercial pet food are at higher risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Feeding a dog home-made dog foods also risks nutritional imbalance and these diets must be carefully monitored to make sure that the dog is getting all the nutrients, essential minerals, and vitamins he needs.

Obesity

It is easy to understand that if a dog is obese, the extra weight will put more stress on the legs and joints supporting the body, thus exacerbating degeneration of the joint in a dog with hip problems.

Exercise

For young growing puppies especially those who are predisposed to hip dysplasia, the type and the amount of exercise is important. Any activities that put a lot of force on the joints are not good. One such activity is playing Frisbee.

For dogs prone to hip dysplasia, exercise should be moderate and focused on developing, strengthening, and maintaining good muscle mass, such as running and swimming.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

The symptoms of canine hip dysplasia are very similar to that of osteoarthritis:

Limping or walking with an abnormal gait (The dog may run with a “bunny hopping” gait).

Reduced activities.

Stiffness in the rear legs, especially after exercise or first thing in the morning.

Difficulty rising or lying down or going up stairs.

May resist movements that require full extension or flexion of the rear legs (Hip dysplasia causes pain on hip extension).

Build ramps so that your pet does not have to walk up stairs

Herbal Remedies:

Herbal treatments have been studied for their safe yet effective support of the musculoskeletal system, to build the bone density, to limit bone re-absorption, to alleviate pain and inflammation as well as the overall health of your pet.

I Feel Good –  (learn more) promotes healthy immune response, reduces all types of inflammation, provides dermal support and growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism, reduces the histamine trigger for contact allergies, seasonal and chronic allergens, pathogens, skin rashes, infections, hot spots, inflammation, swelling, hair loss, itching and geriatria (dull coat, lethargy), for all types of arthritis, including Degenerative Joint Disease, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and symptoms associated with rheumatism, including pain, strains, injuries, muscle pain, swelling and lack of mobility; plus contains prebiotics and probiotics useful in balancing digestive health and function plus much more. 

Joint Ease Super Dog & Cat – (learn more) contains plant and marine extracts that promote preventative and reparative support to rebuild tissue, joints, bones and muscles; supports healthy immune and inflammatory response; for rheumatism; for arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatism, Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), Intervertebral Disk Disease (IDD) & arthrosis; for muscle pains, strains, injuries and other degenerative joint related diseases; for pain; as a pain reliever for swelling and lack of mobility; for overall optimal health and function & as a natural alternative for tumors and cysts.

The Daily Paws  (learn more) is used as a multi-system nutritive for daily maintenance of all body systems, with emphasis on a healthy endocrine system, promotes healthy skin and shiny, glossy coats due to its high mineral and vitamin content, and is used to maintain body temperature, (important in immuno-compromised animals), and for a multiplicity of conditions and diseases including for allergies, arthritis, cognitive disorder and cancer, for urinary disorders to alkalinize (higher Ph) acidic urine and for blood purification.

All Shins & Grins – (learn more) supports the skin’s ability to withstand environmental toxin, antigen and microorganism exposure due to its Vitamin C and antioxidant content, promotes optimal immune responsepromotes strong teeth, bone, skin and coat, reduces allergic (acute and chronic) skin reactions and irritations, hot spots and soothes itchy skin and coat in dogs and cats, works to cut recovery time and prevent recurring infections and provides general mood support.

Gland Candy - (learn more) contains healthy fatty Omega 3 acids used to support healthy body weight, used in the treatment of skin conditions and to promote healthy skin and coat, to support and tone the lymphatic system, to balance glandular activities including the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, to support and maintain healthy thyroid function and to soothe the thyroid and endocrine system, for allergies, alopecia, allergic dermatitis, moist dermatitis (hot spots), to stimulate tissue repair and for all types of arthritis.

Helpful suggestions:

Manage your pet’s weight by controlling 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, free of corn, wheat and soy.

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 and cat warm during cold weather when joint conditions usually worsen. Make sure you add more blankets to bedding and consider adding a pet sweater and keeping 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.

Alternative treatments such as physical therapy, hydrotherapy and massage may also be beneficial in increasing range of motion.

Conventional Remedies:

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.

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, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, meloxicam, carprofen, phenylbutazone and corticosteroids to control pain and reduce joint swelling.

Medications 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. Certain NSAIDs can also cause damage to the kidneys. Great care must be used when treating cats with NSAIDs.

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.

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. Surgical options include joint fusion, joint replacement such as hip replacement, joint excision and amputation.

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