Dogs and Arthritis
A veterinarian with a special interest in orthopedic care, Dr. Todd L. Prince treats a variety of small animals as a staff member with Springbrook Animal Care Center and several other Illinois practices. Dr. Todd Prince is one of the few veterinarians in Illinois to attain diplomate status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to many orthopedic problems, especially as they enter their senior years. One particularly common issue in both humans and their canine friends is arthritis, a disease defined by inflammation and degeneration of joint tissues.
The larger the dog, the more pressure it places on its joints when running or playing. Over time, that pressure causes wear and tear, raising the risk of arthritis. Signs of the disease in dogs include motion problems like difficulties using stairs or reluctance to walk on one or more legs.
Dog owners can reduce the risk of arthritis in their animal companions by ensuring they maintain healthy weights and are getting the right balance of nutrients and omega-3 fats. With the aid of veterinarians like Todd Prince, DVM, owners of dogs with arthritis can also help their pets get relief through drug therapies and even surgical care.
Todd Prince, DVM, a board-certified small animal veterinarian, serves on the staff of several veterinary practices in and around Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Todd L. Prince draws on extensive experience in the treatment of canine neurological disorders, such as peripheral neuropathies.
As its name indicates, a peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves outside of the central nervous system. These nerves are responsible for a variety of functions, including coordinated movement as well as automatic physical function. Interruption of these functions may occur if there is a degeneration of the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve or if the nerve fibers themselves begin to disintegrate.
Because the peripheral nerves serve so many purposes, their degeneration causes a wide variety of symptom sets and stems from a range of disorders. Common causes include breed-specific congenital conditions, parasitic infections, and environmental toxins. Symptoms range from weakness in the limbs to spatial disorientation and typically develop gradually, which in turn means that owners often do not notice a problem until it is significantly advanced.
Veterinary medicine currently has no available cure for peripheral neuropathy. The disease causes continued degeneration once identified, though palliative treatments targeted at specific symptoms can increase a dog’s quality of life and mitigate discomfort.
Board-certified veterinarian Dr. Todd Prince cares for small animals at several veterinary care centers in and around Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Todd Prince focuses much of his attention on preventative care and promoting overall pet wellness, which includes proper care of the teeth.
Approximately 78 percent of dogs over 3 years old suffer from dental disease, while 85 percent of dogs above age 4 have a form of periodontal disease. These conditions can cause discomfort and ultimate tooth loss, as well as systemic medical issues when the infection enters the blood stream. Fortunately, dog owners can help to prevent these conditions through the simple practice of good canine dental hygiene.
Veterinarians often recommend that owners begin this practice with a visit to the veterinarian, who can perform a comprehensive diagnostic examination and remove existing tartar. This brings the dog to a healthy baseline and makes it more comfortable for the owner to begin a brushing regimen. Experts suggest that owners begin with a lip massage of up to one minute, either daily or twice daily for a few weeks. Once the dog is used to this kind of contact, the owner can try massaging the teeth and gums.
Canine toothbrushes and toothpastes are available commercially. Brushes are smaller and softer than human toothbrushes and may fit over the finger, though the owner may choose to use a piece of clean gauze instead. Similarly, a baking soda and water concoction can safely take the place of canine toothpaste. Dental-friendly treats, identifiable with the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal, can also help to keep dogs’ teeth clean between brushings.