What are Swollen Joints?
Pets just like humans are susceptible to muscle and joint conditions such as swollen joints. Swollen joints can cause intense discomfort and pain, especially during colder seasons. Dogs and cats are both affected, although larger dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are more prone to swollen joints.
Age, wear and tear of the joints over time as well as being overweight can also lead to joint swelling. Swelling of the joints is often associated with muscle and joint problems such as tenderness, warmth, redness, inflammation, stiffness and pain. It is most likely a sign of arthritis, a gradual degenerative joint disease.
If you notice any swelling of your pet’s limbs, consult your vet immediately and take preventative measures so more serious health complications do not develop.
Symptoms and signs
The common symptoms and signs of muscle and joint disorders include:
- Morning stiffness
- Reduced activity
- Pain in the joints
- Whining or crying when getting up or being picked up
- Joint of the affected limb thickens
- Favoring one limb over the other
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Reluctance to jump, run or climbing stairs
- Clicking when walking
What Causes Swollen Joints?
Swollen joints in dogs and cats various can be caused by various muscle and joint conditions which include:
Diagnosing Swollen Joints
The diagnoses of swollen joints are based on the symptoms presented, and a thorough physical assessment of your pet’s joints. Certain tests such as blood tests, x-rays and fluid samples from the joint may be needed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
Help for Swollen Joints
Help and Treatment for swollen joints
The aim of conventional treatment for swollen joints is to manage pain, reduce inflammation and ease discomfort. Your vet may prescribe medications such analgesics and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Prednisone, Palaprin or Dermaxx.
Keep in mind that long-term use of these medications can cause serious side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, damage to the joint and cartilage, liver and kidneys. Resting the joint is very important and treating the affected area with immobilization and medications can also minimize symptoms and speed recovery. In more severe cases, joint surgery, splinting or casting may be necessary.
Taking preventative measures and making certain lifestyle changes such as weight loss, proper nutrition, regular exercise and adding natural supplements (glucosamine, ester-c, msm, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid can make a significant difference to your pet’s joint health. A more holistic approach that includes acupuncture, chiropractic therapy or massage can also reduce your pet’s symptoms and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Natural remedies are well known for their therapeutic and protective effect on muscle and joint health in humans as well as pets. Herbal ingredients, biochemic tissue salts and nutritional substances are a gentler alternative than conventional medications without any unwanted side effects.
Carefully selected herbs such as Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's Claw) and Arthrospira platenis (Spirulina) have anti-inflammatory properties and highly effective in the treatment of degenerative joint diseases. Biochemic tissue salts and nutritional substances such as Calcium Fluoride, Natrium Phosphoricum and Glucosamine Sulphate strengthen and support healthy joints and reduce symptoms of pain and inflammation.