DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE
pets age, the tissues lining the bones and joints may deteriorate
and degenerate. Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) describes chronic
arthritis (osteoarthritis) which is a gradual deterioration of
articular cartilage within the joints.
What is DJD?
Joints consist of a tough fibrous
joint capsule joining the bones. The joint capsule is lined by a
thin membrane which produces joint fluid. This acts as a lubricant
and also carries nourishment to the spongy articular cartilage which
covers the ends of the bones. The articular cartilage does not have
any blood supply of its own to provide nourishment and oxygen. The
articular cartilage receives nourishment from small vessels in the
underlying bone and through absorption from the joint fluid.
DJD can follow a number of joint
diseases including infection and surgery. It also occurs from
excessive weight and obesity. This smooth resilient cartilage
degenerates and becomes brittle and may actually split from the bone
and become detached within the joint.
Although DJD is said to be
non-inflammatory, mild inflammation plays a part in causing clinical
signs. The damaged cells of the cartilage release substances which
result in inflammation, pain and further damage to the cartilage.
Thus, once DJD begins it can become a vicious cycle.
Can the condition be cured?
Most of the damage caused by DJD is
irreversible. Fortunately, new products are available that can slow
the progress of the disease and promote cartilage healing. In
addition, modern analgesics can effectively control pain without few
We will discuss treatment options
to allow your pet to enjoy a happy, pain free life.
Control of DJD
Many dogs suffering from DJD are
overweight. It is imperative that your petís weight should be
monitored and reduced if necessary. If you have any difficulties or
need help, please contact us. There are many weight reducing diets
available that work very well.
Effective pain relief
Many of the early analgesics caused
gastrointestinal upset. Todayís modern arthritis medications have
few of these side effects. If you think your petís medication is
causing side effects, please discontinue them and contact us.
destruction of cartilage and promoting repair
Drugs are now available which have
been shown to be effective in controlling the destruction of
cartilage in dogs with DJD. They work by:
improving the blood
supply within the joint
preventing some of the
harmful enzymes that continue the destruction of cartilage within
the joint once it has started
promote the formation
of fibrous tissue to heal damaged areas
We will discuss with you the best
medication for your petís condition.
There are certain products that are
described as nutritional supplements rather than pharmaceuticals,
(i.e. drugs). These products have been termed nutraceuticals.
These compounds often contain glucosamine (glycosaminoglycan) and
chrondroitin with trace elements and vitamins. There are many
anecdotal case histories available, indicating that these products
do help and it has been shown that they cause no side effects.
you have any questions or concerns regarding treatment, please do
not hesitate to contact us.