The Slim Pet Vet

The relationship between arthritis and weight loss 

What is Arthritis? 

Arthritis has many different names including osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease, all of which are the progressive and permanent deterioration of the cartilage and joint.This condition effects 80% of dogs over the age of 8 and often contributes to early euthanasia due to reduced quality of life.  

Cartilage covers the surfaces of the bone in a joint and produces fluid to lubricate the joint. When arthritis occurs, the cartilage is damaged and produces less fluid which causes the joint surfaces to rub against each other. This causes further damage, pain and the stimulation of new bone growth in strange places, making it stiff. 

What is the relationship between arthritis and weight? 

There are many risk factors to developing arthritis such as previous injury or congenital conditions such as hip dysplasia. However there is a strong link between overweight pets and arthritis, this is due to the long term pressure of carrying extra weight on the joints. Our heavier pets are more likely to injure their joints and we also know that fatty tissue is biologically active secreting hormones and other chemicals to enhance inflammation. 

How can losing weight help? 

For dogs both with and without arthritis, maintaining a healthy body weight can be beneficial. Having a healthy body weight reduces the risk of joint injury and lessens the inflammatory effects of fatty tissue. Dogs with a healthy body weight have more energy and are less likely to suffer from a variety of diseases and conditions associated with obesity. 

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