Like humans, horses and dogs also suffer from joint problems. Such diseases have a significant impact on an animal’s quality of life.
Main causes of animals’ joint problems
Problems with joints in both humans and animals are caused in a variety of ways:
- Excessive strain on the joints
- Degenerative joint disease
- Inflammatory reactions
- Traumatic joint injury
- Developmental joint disease
- Natural ageing
Excessive joint strain mechanically degrades hyaluronic acid, but in this physiological state it is replenished by the activity of cells present in the cartilage. With age, the ability of these cells to produce hyaluronan and other necessary substances in sufficient amounts gradually wanes.
Degenerative disease and inflammatory reactions have the same impact on cartilage as mechanical overloading – they contribute to the degradation of hyaluronic acid. In much the same way as can be observed when an individual grows older, cartilage damage restricts the ability to form acid substantially, if not completely.
Symptoms of inflammation include:
- Joint swelling
- Increased temperature in the joint area
Cartilage wear and tear
Articular cartilage has an intriguing way of withstanding biomechanical stress. Cartilaginous tissue creates enormous hydroelastic pressure, which maintains its shape while ensuring mechanical resistance. Cartilage works practically like a sponge – under pressure, water is squeezed out of the cartilage; at rest, water is sucked back into the tissue together with a certain amount of the substances contained in the synovial fluid. Besides construction materials for the recovery of the cartilage structure, there are also substances with fat properties, which ultimately makes it possible to achieve the necessary lubrication of the cartilage. This effect is also important for the nutrition of cartilage cells and the removal of waste products because chondrocytes are nourished only by diffusion.
Joint disease and the treatment of arthrosis in dogs
Developmental and degenerative joint disease, occurring in both small and large breeds, is one of the most common causes of limping in dogs. Of the developmental joint diseases, the one we encounter most often is osteochondrosis.
Other very serious diseases include hip dysplasia (HD), elbow dysplasia (ED) and patellar luxation. Arthrosis figures among the major degenerative joint diseases in dogs.
Osteoarthritis in horses
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common reasons for lameness in horses. Osteoarthritis may be caused by an acute injury or, more frequently, by chronic trauma as a result of prolonged excessive physical strain or flawed training methods. Joint trauma leads to inflammation, which usually affects soft tissues such as the synovial membrane (synovitis) and the joint capsule (capsulitis).
The inflammatory process degrades hyaluronic acid in the joint capsule, reducing its quantity and molecular weight. This phenomenon adversely affects the viscoelasticity of joint fluid (which becomes thinner and is no longer able to absorb shocks effectively). The mechanical function of this fluid – it lubricates articular cartilage and facilitates smooth movement – is reduced. The cartilage loses its elasticity, and its surface becomes rough and less resistant to pressure. There is consequent mechanical stress and damage to articular cartilage (irregular grooves are formed on its surface), accompanied by the development of permanent cartilage damage (osteoarthritis). Once damaged in this way, the cartilage is incapable of regeneration. The timely initiation of therapy, however, can alleviate or halt the progression of the disease.
How to tackle animals’ joint problems animals?
As the amount of hyaluronic acid in the body decreases with age, the best solution to joint problems is the artificial replenishment of hyaluronic acid in the organism. There are several ways to approach this. In the past, treatment was limited exclusively to injectable drugs containing hyaluronic acid, applied directly into the joint fluid. Later, use of the intravenous drug Bonharen was introduced. Recently, dietary supplement Geloren has also gained a footing. With these products, missing levels of hyaluronic acid can be delivered to the body, or the production of hyaluronic acid by the body can be boosted. This makes it possible to deal with the prevention and treatment of joint problems effectively without stressing the body with unnatural chemicals.
The active ingredients of Geloren joint nutrition belong among the group of substances known as SYSADOA (formerly chondroprotectives), i.e. “symptomatic slow-acting drugs of osteoarthritis”. Although certain individuals may experience a relatively rapid onset of action (approximately 14 days), joint problems usually improve only after several weeks of product use. That is why it the administration of Geloren in broader procedures is recommended.
The administration of joint nutrition alone is insufficient if the animal is suffering from infectious arthritis caused by bacteria (Streptococcus, Borrelia) or viruses (herpes, EB), or if its joints are affected due to an autoimmune response of the organism (a response to pathogens, vaccinations and drugs). Joints may also be aggravated by allergies to gluten. With this in mind, in the treatment of joint diseases it is necessary to focus primarily on the originator/cause of the illness. Proper diagnosis by a veterinarian is therefore essential for the successful treatment of animals’ joint diseases.
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