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Useful - What to do if my beloved pet has rheumatism?

First of all we have to understand that rheumatism cannot be cured.  More attention should be paid to the daily details of a rheumatic animal.  Symptoms of rheumatism can be relieved by medications or supplements.  Many people believe that a joint-degenerated animal should have more rest instead of exercise.  As a matter of fact, moderate exercise, particularly swimming, is therapeutic and can stimulate the metabolism and nutrient supply of cartilage.  However, not all kinds of exercise are suitable for joint-degenerated animals.  Only exercises that are of lower strength level, well-monitored and effective ones can help by avoiding further trauma or aggravation.

Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy can both be therapeutic workouts for the animals.  Swimming is one good option in the summer time.  It is also advisable to have veterinary opinions to see if injection of bone supplement or nutritional supplements (such as fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate) could help.  Acupuncture may also help to reduce arthritic symptoms.    

There are in fact many things to note in the daily routines of taking care a rheumatic animal.  For example:

1. Proper control of the dog’s body weight in order to avoid further loading to its limbs and joints;
2. Change of climate, wet and cold environment and a cold floor can exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis.  Soft mats on the floor can relieve the pain in dogs by reducing the impact of vibration while walking or jumping.
3. To improve the home environment with simple décor and to wrap corners of tables or walls with soft protectors.
4. Put the dog’s bowl on a higher level so it can eat in a comfortable position.  This will relieve the pain in its neck and shoulder joint.
5. Material of the dog bed should be adequately firm, breathable and moist resistant.  The mattress should be able to drain the water when the dog urinates on its bed.  Jumping or excessive exercise should also be avoided.

Whether it is the plan of treatment or the amount of supplements that should be given to the animal, it all varies case by case.  Owners like you should seek professional advice before starting any treatment plan.  Supplements are available at the SAA Veterinary Centre and we also provide expert advice on individual case.  Please contact Veterinary Centre on 2475-2231 if required.