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Obesity is Causing Arthritis in Our Pets! Vet Explains the Causes and Ways to Prevent of Pet Arthritis

Obesity is Causing Arthritis in Our Pets! Vet Explains the Causes and Ways to Prevent of Pet Arthritis

It is inevitable for the joints of elder cats and dogs get worse along with their age. According to research data, 80% of dogs aged 8 above suffer from arthritis, while 90% of cats aged 12 or above get symptoms as well. Arthritis is never a small issue as it will lead to immense mental and physical suffering for your pets, which will be more denial on walking, and a vicious cycle of muscle atrophy may even result in paralysis as they cannot even stand properly. 



However, with today's advancements in medical technology, helping cats and dogs combat arthritis is not difficult. Dr. David Quach, Hospital Director at Creature Comforts East Island Animal Hospital, has the following tips for pet owners, teaching them how to prevent their cats and dogs from suffering from arthritis. 


What is Pet Arthritis? Joint Pain Is Not Limited to Elder Cats and Dogs


Arthritis generally refers to various inflammatory and painful conditions that occur between joints, and it can be categorized as acute and chronic respectively. Injuries like sprains, bacterial infections, ligament ruptures etc. can lead to short-term acute arthritis, which is common among young dogs and cats. Problems like aging and the degeneration of cartilage between joints can lead to chronic arthritis, which is often referred as “rheumatism” in elderly people. 


Acute arthritis can be recovered with proper treatment, however if its gets developed to rheumatism, it can only be managed through veterinary treatment to alleviate pain and slow down the progress, and it cannot be cured.  



Congenital and Acquired Factors can Lead to Arthritis. Pay Attention if Your Pet are the Following Breeds! 


Dr. David pointed out that arthritis is becoming increasingly common among dogs in Hong Kong. They are genetically predisposed to joint issues, such as Poodles, Pomeranians and Chihuahuas, commonly known to develop "luxating patella," a painful condition affecting their knee joints. Even large sized dogs like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and Saint Bernards often suffer from hip dysplasia due to irresponsible breeding practices. Some of them even endure the torment of arthritis from a young age. 


Aside from breed and genetic factors, excessive pampering by pet owners may indirectly lead to arthritis as well. Over-nourishment of pets will cause overweight and even obesity, which is one of the biggest culprits behind arthritis. Overweighting will put pressure on joints, that every daily movement like running and jumping become a burden on joints, leading to joint inflammation. 


Have They Become Less Active? Symptoms of Joint Arthritis in Cats and Dogs


When cats and dogs show the following abnormal behaviors, be aware that they might be suffering from joint pain. Owners should take note: 


Sleepiness Reduced Activity  Resistance to be Touched Irritability


Both cats and dogs have the potential to suffer from arthritis, but Dr. David mentioned that not many cat owners seek veterinary help for it, as indoor cats tend to more sedentary and less active, therefore it is difficult for owners to notice any discomfort caused by arthritis. 


On the other hand, dogs are more easily noticeable. If a dog suddenly refuse to go for a walk, and is not willing to visit the dog park, or even, reduce to frequency of jumping around at home, or doesn’t enjoy being carried, these may be signs of discomfort. If owners get any suspicion, they should seek for veterinary help as soon as possible to prevent the worsen of condition. 


4 Esstential Steps of Treating Pet Arthritis in Pets


Arthritis can happen in different parts of pets’ body, and there are corresponding treatment ways for each area. However, there are some general treatment steps: 


1. Weight Management


Weight loss is essential in treating arthritis for an overweight pet. Dr. David emphasizes that obese pets must lose weight for effective treatment. He recommended owners stop feeding treats and snacks and switch to prescription weight loss formula. It is all about the effort of owners to implement these changes. 


2. Anti-inflammatory and Pain-relieving


Joint inflammation causes pain and discomfort in cats and dogs, greatly affecting their quality of life. That is why veterinarians use laser therapy, medication, or acupuncture to alleviate the pain and help pets regain normal movement and relax their muscles. 


3. Physical Therapy


Physical Therapy can be implemented after anti-inflammatory and pain relief treatment to strengthen the muscles of pets and reduce joint pressure. Therapies like swimming, stretching, and walking are all good ways. 


4. Supplements


Nutritional supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin, green-lipped mussel extract, and Omega-3 are all beneficial joint health supplements for pets, helping them fight against arthritis.


Enjoy Laser Therapy for Quick Inflammation Relief and Pain Reduction


Chronic Arthritis cannot be cured, therefore the veterinarian treatment goal is to allow cats and dogs to coexist with arthritis by “using the least amount of medication to maintain the best quality of life.” Dr. David said. 


Laser therapy is the most commonly used method by Dr. David. The principle of laser therapy is to target the pain and inflammation areas, using lasers to activate cells, stimulate blood flow, promote cell regeneration, and enhance tissue healing ability. When used on arthritic areas, it can effectively reduce inflammation and swelling, eliminate necrotic cells, and strengthen muscles. 




One of the benefits of laser therapy is to reduce the need for medicine. Intaking medication may inevitably put a strain on the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract of pets, and elderly ones may not even be suitable for medication. Laser therapy, as an ideal alternative method, is safe and non-invasive. Acupuncture, on the other hand, may be unacceptable for some pets and owners as it involves the insert of needles into the pet’s body. Laser therapy requires treatment only on the surface of skin, and the process takes about 5 -15 minutes, with a mild warmth feeling on pets’ skin only. The process is described as a comfortable experience that is similar to human beauty or massage treatments. 



Dr. David shares that pet owners often notice a significant improvement in their pets' vitality and happiness after receiving laser treatments. He also mentioned that pets tend to be happier and less irritable after receiving laser therapy.



Starting from the Root Cause: 5 Tips to Prevent Joint Arthritis in Cats and Dogs


To prevent our beloved pets from suffering the pain of arthritis, we can start by focusing on the details of their daily lives and taking care of their joints. 


1.  Maintain a Healthy Body Weight


Dr. David emphasized obesity is closely related to joint arthritis. Prevent overweight from the beginning is always better than forcing them to lose weight after experiencing the pain of joint arthritis. 


2. Choose the Suitable Exercise Venue


Compared to soft grass, hard surfaces can result in greater impact and pressure on your dog's joints. When exercising, it is better to bring them to dog parks with grass or sand, and try to minimize intense exercise on tiled or concrete surfaces. 


3. Develop Good Exercise Habits


Maintaining joint health doesn’t mean being sedentary, but developing good exercise habits when young and healthy, exercising muscles, and keeping joints flexibility. The lack of exercise will only increase the weight of pets, causing joint stiffness and muscle weakness, unbeneficial and harmful to the health of joints. 


4. Supplement


When pets enter middle age, it is advisable to start adding nutritional supplements that are beneficial to their joints. 


5. Choose a Reputable Breeding Farm


Avoid purchasing from unscrupulous merchants that breed dogs with hereditary joint problems. 


By following the above 5 points, pets can effectively be avoided from joint arthritis prematurely. 

East Island Animal Hospital - Laser Therapy Solution

Creature Comforts provide the best-in-class equipment and non-invasive, painless Pet Laser Therapy that uses low-level laser light to promote healing, reduce pain, and alleviate inflammation. The therapy is a versatile treatment option that can help your furry friends feel their best, allowing them to enjoy life to the fullest with minimally invasive therapy.


Experience Package: HK$850 ( Include one time Doctor Consultation and one time laser therapy )

Booking Hotline: 2915 3999



Creature Comforts East Island Animal Hospital


Creature Comforts East Island Animal Hospital is the main headquarters of veterinary services. Whether your beloved pet needs an X-ray, ultrasound, surgery, or hospitalization, all can be provided within the hospital. We also offer a wide range of services including blood bank, acupuncture, and oxygen therapy. Creature Comforts East Island Animal Hospital is one of the most well-equipped animal hospitals in Hong Kong.





Dr. David Quach, Senior Veterinarian BVSc. MVS.

Creature Comforts East Island Animal Hospital


Special Thanks: PET AGENT, Congee





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