Established in 2009 Animal Health Solutions is registered with the South African Veterinary Council and is owned and managed by Veterinarian Dr Tanya Grantham (BSc(Hons); BVSc; Certificate of Safety and Competence in Veterinary Acupuncture CertSCVA UK; Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner CCRP Univ.of Tennessee).

An angular limb deformity is a bone growth abnormality that causes a limb to grow curved or bowed rather than straight. These deformities occur in young, still-growing dogs, usually after trauma to a growth plate in the leg. The consequences are functional lameness as a result of changes in posture, as well as painful lameness because of changes in alignment of the joint.
Arthritis is comprised of two roots; arth meaning joint, and itis meaning inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s response to remove damaged cells, irritants and infection to allow for the start of the healing process. Arthritis, however, is painful inflammation, accompanied by stiffness of the joints.
There are a number of types of arthritis but the most common in dogs and cats is osteoarthritis (OA). This implies involvement of the bones as well as the joints. OA is also referred to as degenerative joint disease (DJD) which is characterised by a loss of joint cartilage and subsequent exposure of the underlying bone. In a normal joint, there is balance between the continuous process of cartilage matrix degeneration and repair. In OA degeneration is winning!

OA Patients usually display:

Limited activity levels

  • Reduced performance
  • Muscle wastage/atrophy
  • Pain (varying degrees)
  • Joint stiffness and a decrease in range of motion (ROM)

These symptoms result in a vicious cycle of pain, reduced activity, stiffness and loss of strength.

Signs of pain in cats and dogs:

  • Increase in anxiety, sometimes showing agitation or rapid breathing
  • Decrease in social interaction
  • Increase in aggressiveness
  • Diminished performance, they won’t want to go as far or as fast
  • Changes in temperament
  • Abnormal gait and body position
  • Eating less, with a resulting loss of weight
  • Decreased activity with weight gain
  • Inappropriate elimination in the house
  • Excessive chewing, biting or licking of an area or limb
  • Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of the litter box or car
  • Resting more than usual
  • Difficulty getting up from a lying position
  • Failure to self groom
  • Slow or stiff movements upon waking, or after rest or in cold weather
  • Limping
  • Swollen joint(s) warm to the touch
  • Personality changes such as your companion no longer likes to be touched
  • Reluctance to walk, run, climb/descend stairs, jump or play
  • Lagging behind on walks
  • Reluctance to extend rear legs
  • Sluggishness
  • Inability to stretch
  • Vocalisation on handling
  • Unwillingness to play with other animal companions

Your companion may show one or more of these signs. Winter is approaching and signs can often become evident as the weather changes. Being aware can aid in an early diagnosis and intervention.

The mainstay of treatment is anti-inflammatory medicine however, a more holistic approach can reduce the need for these drugs and manage the pain associated with OA, as well as enhancing your companion’s quality of life.

Joints were made to move so the more mobile a joint, the healthier it is. Low impact exercise is advised in dogs diagnosed with OA. Hydrotherapy is the ideal exercise. Hydrotherapy will help to maintain muscle mass (which in turn support the joints), keep joints moving and aid with weight management. Affected companions which have an aversion for water need not be excluded from exercise. A gentle land-based program can be devised to aid movement. Massage and application of hot and cold packs have a role to play in the management of this condition.

Other options to investigate include joint supplements, specific diets, homeopathy, stem cell therapy, acupuncture and gold bead implants, magnetic therapy and Laser treatments.

The cranial cruciate ligament (anterior cruciate ligament in humans) is one of the most important stabilisers of the canine knee. Tears to the CCL (partial or complete rupture) are one of the most common causes of hind limb lameness in dogs. The resulting instability predisposes the joint to degenerative changes.
Degenerative myelopathy is a late-onset neurological disease of the spinal cord. It has been recorded in German Shepherd Dogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Boxer dogs and many other breeds.
Patellar luxation is a common, mildly to severely painful condition in domestic dogs. It is most commonly seen in young miniature and toy breeds, although any age, gender or breed of dog can develop the disorder.
Dysplasia (from Ancient Greek  “bad” or “difficult” and plasis, “formation”) implies malformed elbows or hips. The malformation results in pain, reduced range of motion of the affected joint and eventually arthritis.

A diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia (HD) in your animal companion does

not need to become a life sentence.

Contrary to popular belief, the condition is not limited to large breed dogs, and  has been

diagnosed in English Cocker Spaniels, Bull Dogs, Standard Poodles and even Cats, from as

early as 12 weeks of age.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of this condition?

Did you know that the progress of the disease can be significantly affected by diet

and exercise?  A simple change from slippery to non-slip floors can make a huge

difference to the further development of this disease. Managing diet and environment

within the first few weeks of a puppy’s life can affect the outcome of the disease

positively or negatively, a responsible educated breeder can make a big difference.

 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP and receive our FREE PDF which includes information about

Hip Dysplasia as well as  tips and practical advice on how to manage the HD animal

companion.

 

Epilepsy is defined as a neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. In most cases the cause is unknown and the condition must be managed.
When discs between vertebrae in the cervical (neck) or thoracolumbar (chest and back) areas of the spine degenerate, the inner disc material can protrude or rupture into the spinal canal. This is referred to as intervertebral disc disease. The symptoms can vary from pain to paralysis and always require intervention; medical and/or surgical.
Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Dogs that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese. The effects of obesity are numerous; ranging from a predisposition to metabolic disorders (like diabetes in cats) to excessive strain on joints resulting in arthritis. Maintaining an animal companion’s weight at the ideal is vitally important for health.
Muscle conditioning is the training of skeletal muscles to enhance strength and/or improve endurance. This is hugely important in human athletes and no less so in canine athletes.