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May 2019 Chisivet newsletter

There has been a long silence from our newsletter editor – apologies – we could not work out how to circulate /send out our newsletter. Hopefully, this will signify the start of our monthly messages.

The start of winter is always a good time to discuss osteoarthritis (OA). After all, about 1 in 5 dogs have arthritis – (and about 4 out of 5 old dogs), but osteoarthritis is not only an old dog problem – dogs as young as one year old may be affected. Most of what is in this newsletter also applies to cats. Temperature /weather can have a significant effect on the degree of pain that arthritis sufferers feel. So what is osteoarthritis??? – it is a degeneration of the normal structure within a joint – this causes reduced use of the joint and limb, so the surrounding muscles,tendons and ligaments become weak – the body compensates elsewhere which causes more pain . Dogs do not show pain like we do  - they don’t vocalise!!! so it is up to you to notice changes in your dog’s behaviour and bring him/her in for examination – often “just getting old”- less energy/enthusiasm for walks/sleeping more; difficulty getting up/bunny-hopping up the stairs;hunched; incessant licking of paws, pacing/restlessness, toileting on the move. What can we do???

  • Weight management is essential and results in an amazing improvement
  • Controlled exercise and lifestyle modifications. People tend to walk their dogs further on weekends cos they have the time – however this sudden increase leaves your arthritic dog feeling stiff and painful the next day. Likewise,long walks on rough terrainor with lots of inclines. Exercise should be done at a consistent level on a daily basis. At home, carpets can be put on slippery floors , cats can be fed on a lower level and have ramps/steps onto the bed .Don’t leave them in the cold at night – a warm blanket and a draft free bed – dog kennel/basket. A good quality jacket. Dry them off when they are wet – even drying wet feet
  • Disease modifying agents. These are food supplements that slow the progression of cartilage degradation and promote cartilage matrix synthesis.
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

We are pleased to inform you that we are now offering a professional physiotherapy service. Whether your pet is recovering from a fracture, cruciate ligament rupture, neurological conditions, obesity or old age, there are deleterious changes to articular cartilage, bones, muscle, nerves, tendons and ligaments which manifest as lameness, pain and spasm. It takes a long time to recover and some animals may never return to normal function. Physiotherapy speeds up recovery, improves performance, reduces  pain, increases strength and endurance. It is a non invasive form of treatment which compliments surgical and medical procedures.

We  welcome back Dr Whisper Kuwenyi – he has been doing a Masters in Veterinary Surgery in Kenya and has brought new skills back to Zimbabwe.

That’s all our news for now. Stay warm and healthy. Please don’t hesitate to email/phone for any help or comments.