Posted: 05/05/2022
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Getting older is not easy. Not for people and not for cats. Just as people can develop arthritis in their senior years, so can our feline friends. Arthritis is a degenerative disease that occurs when the cartilage between bones begins to deteriorate. This causes the joints to become stiff and painful. When your cat is experiencing this stiffness and pain, they are not as likely to want to engage in their normal, everyday activities. Arthritis can make it impossible for your senior cat to climb stairs to get to their litter box, or hop onto your bed for an afternoon nap. And sometimes, when they’re really feeling bad, they may not even want to be touched or petted – even by their favorite human. What Causes Arthritis in Cats? In addition to normal aging, there are other factors that influence whether a cat may develop arthritis in their senior years: If your cat has had an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation, or if they’ve ever had a major infection, they have a higher chance of developing arthritis where that damage or infection occurred. Those cats who have been born with congenital abnormalities, like hip dysplasia, may also develop arthritis in the troubling area. And finally, overweight cats are more prone to arthritis as the added pounds can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on their joints. Cat Arthritis Symptoms If your cat has developed arthritis, they may begin to show signs of pain and immobility. Changes in their behavior may include: Limping – although rare, some cats will have a slight limp when their joints become stiff. A hesitancy to jump up onto their favorite spots like the sofa or window ledge. Taking longer going up and down stairs or being unable to altogether. Sleeping more than usual. A slip in their normal grooming habits. Their coat may become matted in certain areas, especially near their hind legs. Litter box issues. If a cat can no longer climb over the edge of the litter box, they may begin going outside of it. Being more irritable – hissing from pain. Longer claws from lack of post scratching and other physical activity. Since older cats generally play less and run around less, and may also naturally sleep more, it can be hard to detect whether they may have arthritis. If you have an older cat and they haven’t been to the vet in a while, best to get them fully checked out. Your vet will be able to tell whether your cat’s joints may be bothering them. Cat Arthritis Treatment Options If your vet determines that your cat has arthritis, there are some treatment options. While there are no cures for arthritis, the following can give your cat relief from pain and stiffness. Prescription Medications One of the main ways cat arthritis is treated is by prescription medications. Your vet will likely prescribe something to help manage the pain and inflammation related to arthritis. Prescription medications can often aggravate your cat’s GI tract so you will want to watch them closely for any negative side effects. Working with a holistic vet is often recommended to treat pet arthritis because they can talk to you about using natural remedies such as omega-3, CBD oil and other herbal supplements to manage the pain and inflammation. It is very important to note that you should never give your cat any medications without first speaking to a trained veterinarian. Many over-the-counter medications that treat pain in humans, such as aspirin, Tylenol and Advil, can be deadly to cats. Weight Loss and Management A crucial part of caring for cats with arthritis is managing their weight. As mentioned earlier, extra pounds on your cat’s body put a lot of stress and strain on their joints, causing even more pain. If your cat is overweight or obese, your vet will likely recommend putting them on a weight loss plan that will probably include a special diet. Depending on the severity of your cat’s arthritis, your vet may also offer tips on having them get more exercise and movement. While you may enjoy spoiling your cat, and they most certainly enjoy getting treats from you throughout the day, it’s really important that you help your cat stick to the diet so they can get the pain relief they need. Alternative Treatments There are many wonderful alternative therapies that can help your cat. Some of these include: Acupuncture Massage Hydrotherapy Laser therapy It has been found that the combination of medical and non-medical therapies can often bring the most effective pain relief for your senior cat. In addition, alternative treatments carry minimal risk to your cat. Having said this, some alternative treatment can be quite costly. Although arthritis may slow your cat down, by following these guidelines, they can feel pain relief and begin to get back to their old self again. Pain Relief for Your Wallet When your cat is suffering from arthritis, it can require multiple visits to the vet to get them diagnosed and treated. And speaking of treatments, medications and alternative therapies can really add up! A pet insurance plan lets you get the care for your cat that will offer pain relief from arthritis. An insurance plan will also act as a pain reliever for your wallet! Did you know that some pet health insurance plans can provide reimbursements for up to 90% of the vet bill? Pet Insurance Review is committed to helping pet owners give their cats and dogs the care they deserve. We bring you only the top insurance providers in the country so you can afford to give your pet the very best. Get a free quote today. References: Retrieved from the National Institutes of Health https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/arthritis Cohan, M. VMD (2018). Bone Problems That Can Affect Your Pet. Retrieved from: https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/bone-problems-can-affect-your-pet How Hydrotherapy Can Benefit Your Cat (2020). Retrieved from: https://pawesomecats.com/hydrotherapy-for-cats/          

Posted: 05/05/2022
Category:

Summer is almost here and it’s time to head outdoors and have fun with your two-legged friends and your four-legged friends. The warmer months are awesome because they mean longer walks around the neighborhood, a trip to the beach, and maybe even some frisbee chasing! But while summer is a really fun time of year for dog owners and their dogs, it’s not all fun and games. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to heat stroke, dehydration and more. If you want your summer to be not only fun but safe for your four-legged pal, then follow these summer safety tips for dog owners: Shade is Everyone’s Friend If your dog likes to spend a lot of time outdoors in your backyard, be sure that they have a shady spot to lie down in. Dog houses are the worst places for dogs in the summer because these tiny spaces actually trap heat. If you have no shade trees in the back, you may want to set up a pup-up gazebo for instant shade. Be mindful that even thought there may be shade in your backyard, on really humid days, your dog should not be outside for long periods of time. Dogs cool themselves by panting and when there is high humidity, they cannot cool their bodies enough. On very hot and/or humid days, it’s always safer to leave your dog inside an airconditioned home. Forgo Taking Your Pooch on Errand Runs Never ever leave your dog inside of a locked vehicle during hot days. Temperatures inside a parked car can reach 100 degrees in just 20 minutes. Best to leave your pup at home in the air conditioning. Avoid Long Walks Dogs still need plenty of exercise during the summer. But on very hot and humid days it’s best to keep walks quite short. Even better, walk them either very early in the morning or late in the evening when temps are much cooler. And speaking of walking, avoid exposing your dog’s paws to hot asphalt or hot sand for prolonged periods. Your baby’s paws can easily become burned. Again, best to walk early morning or later in the evening before the sun has had time to bake sidewalks and sand. Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Breed Not all dogs are built the same, and therefor not all dogs react to hot summer days the same. For instance, breeds like Bulldogs, Boxers and Pugs have short heads and snouts and can’t pant as efficiently as other breeds. This makes it hard for them to cool themselves in the summer. Let Them Splash Around! Want to make your dog really happy? Get them a little kiddie wading pool and fill it up with nice cold water so they can dive in and cool off when they need to. And speaking of water… Hydration is Key! Just like your body is mostly made of water, your dog’s is as well. He or she also needs plenty of fresh, cool drinking water this summer to stay hydrated and healthy! Keep Them Off the Grass When walking your dogs around the neighborhood, be mindful of which neighbors’ lawns have been chemically treated, as these chemicals can be toxic to pets. Usually these yards will have a little white or green flag as a warning to children and pets. Flea and Tick Prevention Be sure to provide coverage for fleas and ticks this summer. Both may carry heartworm or Lyme Disease. Speak to your veterinarian about the best protection for your pup. Protect Your Pup from Sunburn Some dogs, particularly those with short hair, white fur and pink skin, can get sunburned just like people. Best to limit the amount of sun exposure your pup gets during the day and apply dog-friendly sunscreen to ears and nose before going outside. Be Cautious at the Ocean If you live near the beach or plan on taking your dog on your family vacation to the beach, be sure to always speak with a lifeguard for water conditions. Dogs are easy targets for sea critters like jellyfish and sea lice. Also, do not let your dog drink seawater. The high salt content will make him sick. Always bring fresh, cool water with you for your pup. And finally, never force your dog into the water. Some dogs take to the water and others have a natural aversion. Respect your dog’s instincts. If your dog does love frolicking around in the waves, watch him carefully and don’t let him overdo it. Swimming against waves is hard work and your dog can become tired and vulnerable very suddenly. Never leave your dog unattended in the water and a doggie life vest is always a good idea. Be Mindful of Heatstroke Heatstroke can be a serious and even fatal event if a dog should experience prolonged exposure to heat. The following are some signs to look out for: Excessive panting Excessive drooling Bright red gums and tongue Difficulty maintaining balance The following are signs of advanced stages of heat stroke: White or blue gums Lethargy Uncontrollable urination or defecation Labored breathing Shock If your dog exhibits any of these signs, try to immediately cool them down by getting them into the shade, gently spraying them with cool water and letting them lick ice cubes. Dogs that do not improve within a few minutes, meaning their temperature has not come down to 100 to 102, should be taken immediately to the vet or emergency clinic. Summertime can be a lot of fun for you and your best 4-legged friend. Just be sure to follow these safety tips so your dog can be as healthy as they are happy. Cool Off with Big Savings What happens if your dog does experience heat stroke? Are you in the financial position to get them the care they need? Let’s face it, vet bills, let alone emergency clinic bills, can really be costly. When you see that number, you can feel like you’re the one suddenly with heat stroke! A pet insurance plan can help you give your beloved pet the care they need while also protecting your wallet. Depending on the coverage, you may be able to receive reimbursements of up to 90% of the bill. These kinds of savings can definitely help you keep your cool! Pet Insurance Review was started by pet lovers. We truly want to help pet owners find coverage that will help them take the best care of their pets, without worrying about expenses. We bring you only the best providers in the country today so you can rest easy. Get a free quote today so you can enjoy your summer. References: Williams, K. BSc, DVM, CCRP. Ward, E. DVM. Heat Stroke in Dogs. Retrieved from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/heat-stroke-in-dogs Catalano, S. DVM. (2020). Why Do Dogs Pant? Is Your Dog Panting Too Much?. Retrieved from: https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/evr_dg_why_do_dogs_pant Nelson, J. 7 Dog Breeds That Don’t Do Well In The Heat. Retrieved from: https://iheartdogs.com/7-dog-breeds-that-dont-do-well-in-the-heat/ Burke, A. (2020). Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Drink Salt Water? Retrieved from: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dogs-drinking-salt-water/