As a veterinary surgeon for over 40 years, I came across many wonderful animals. Some stick out more than others and Elsie is one of those. Towards the end of my practising career I helped Anne Batley and her NZ Cat Foundation to provide veterinary care voluntarily. We were asked to help with a tiny kitten who was obstipated (extreme constipation).
This kitten, we later called LC (little champagne – her colour), had been rescued as a starving stray at a plant nursery that had eaten wood chips or some other indigestible foreign matter from desperate hunger. LC had already been to 2 vets who had recommended euthanasia. This situation became a huge challenge for us, but little did we know just how challenging it would be – how to get the bowel (colon) moving again and how to remove the build up of hard poo from the bowel.
We used enemas, faecal softeners by mouth, a drug to stimulate motility and gentle massage to evacuate the bowel. Two or three times a day we did this for about 6 weeks – yes it took 6 weeks before we were presented with a normal poo. Never have we been so delighted to find a normal poo and I photographed it for the record.
LC became an extraordinary cat and companion. Through all of this invasion she would happily lie in my arms as I walked about the property. She created her own fun by leaping in the long grass for some invisible prey or stalking the fence line balancing on the top batting any stray branch. That happened 8 years ago and she still stalks the undergrowth and enjoys all of the comforts inside the house.
At this time of year when the weather is cold and damp, you may feel stiff in the morning and so might your dog. So it is timely to talk about Arthritis.
Arthritis is a painful, degenerative joint disease that affects about 20% of older dogs. Unfortunately, many of the cases go undiagnosed because owners attribute the subtle changes in the dogs to ‘old age’ or ‘slowing down’.
It is a progressive disease that involves the deterioration of joint cartilage. This condition can affect one or more joints and can lead to pain, stiffness, joint swelling, lameness and reduced mobility, all of which can result in a reduced quality of life.
Arthritis develops as a result of trauma (injury or overuse), dietary imbalance or deformity (developmental or genetic). Large breed dogs such as the Rottweiler and German Shepherd are particullarly vulnerable during their early development if their diet is not balanced. Obesity can also overload the joints.
Cartilage provides cushioning for the joint and joint fluid provides lubrication. If insufficient nutrients are unavailable for repair then cartilage is destroyed and bone spurs form to try and stabilise the joint and this restricts MOVEMENT. Inflammation then develops causing pain and loss of mobility.
As the disease progresses there can be additional destruction of cartilage on the bone surface and production of extra bone around the joints. If left untreated arthritis can cause irreversible damage and prevent dogs from fully participating in everyday activities such as walking, running and swimming.
Arthritis affects one in five adult dogs and these are just the cases that have been diagnosed. The actual number of dogs suffering from arthritis is unknown, because many dog owners attribute the subtle changes in their pets to ‘old age’ or ‘slowing down’
While many cases occur in older, overweight and larger breed dogs, the disease can affect dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds.
With the exception of joint replacement, there’s no cure for degenerative joint disease and arthritis in dogs. However the pain associated with these conditions, and the stiffness and lameness they cause can be managed.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t tell their owners if and where they hurt, so it can be difficult to know when your dog is in pain. However, we do know that the physiological mechanism of pain perception is common to both humans and animals, so follow this simple guideline: If you think a health problem with cause you discomfort you can assume it will do the same in your dog.
Dogs display a wide variety of responses to pain…
It is important to observe dogs close for the signs of arthritis, including
“Improved tremendously, real impressive, like a puppy again; whole attitude happier” Collen Johnson and Carla a 6yr old shepherd.
“My dog became much more supple and active and playful. Could not believe the difference. I wondered if my pet had been switched overnight with some puppy” Age of pet 6-8 years old.
Joint Flex is a comprehensive and balanced formulation of essential nutrients that provide the raw nutrients to support maintenance and repair of the joint.
For more information check our website, follow us on Facebook, or phone Chris on 0274985404
GIVE A DOG A BONE....
Today’s packaged dog foods have omitted an essential part of their natural diet – bones. Not only the hard bone material but all the nutrients attached to the bone – cartilage and ligaments which are essential building blocks especially for young dogs. Cartilage is rich in collagen and chondroitins which bind together to provide strength, cushioning and flexibility. We see an increasing number of developmental joint problems today especially in large breed dogs that grow rapidly during the first 6 months of their life. So give your dog a bone – not only will it provide good nutrition but will encourage healthy gums and teeth and provide enjoyment as they chew away at the bone. Joint Flex can be used to supplement the diet, especially for young large breed dogs, after surgery and in older age when stiffness appears first thing in the morning or after long exercise
Raw chicken necks are a very easy meal or snack and balanced
Raw brisket provides meat, fat and bone – a complete meal. I suggest you remove the short piece of rib bone as it is too hard to chew