Posted By: Ellen - Vet

Rescue dogs Pippin and Squeak help to ease their arthritis by losing weight

Pippin and Squeak are two lovely border collies. They sadly had found themselves in a rescue centre. Both of them are nearly 11 and were lucky to find some lovely owners wanting take them on, and give them a good home. Taking on rescue dogs can be brilliantly rewarding, if a little challenging at times! These two were quite large ladies and already had signs of arthritis developing.

They were bought in to see us for a check over. Luckily for Pippin and Squeak’s owners, both dogs were otherwise healthy and kind natured. The fact that they were overweight was even more of a problem, as it worsens the signs of arthritis significantly. This is because the amount of force on a joint during exercise is 5 x a dog’s bodyweight, therefore any small weight gains will make a big difference to the amount of force being put on a joint. This means that losses will also make a big difference. There are other problems associated with being overweight such as: diabetes, other joint problems, heat and exercise intolerance, and breathing problems which can all shorten our pets’ life spans.

We set up a weight control plan for both dogs. We determined the amount of food that they should need. This was calculated based on a target weight rather than their current weight, in order to achieve the weight loss needed. They have been put onto a special satiety diet – this is designed to have reduced calorie content, but also help to keep them full for longer. They have controlled the amount, and any treats that are given tend to be the satiety food, and are then counted into their daily allowance so they are fed slightly less for their evening meal. 

They were already being given anti-inflammatory pain relief. This is a very important part of the management of arthritis in dogs, as it is a very painful condition. It is something that we have to manage as we are not able to cure the problem and return the joint to its healthy state.  This management involves mostly controlling the pain and muscle wastage associated with arthritis. It can involve pain relief in a number of different forms. As well as pain relief, other important management factors are: exercise modification – variable depending on the current severity of the arthritis as it may limit the amount of exercise that they can tolerate; and weight control. Pippin and Squeak are also being given joint supplements – such as glucosamine, which are often included in some of the senior diets available for dogs.

Pippin and Squeak have been having monthly weight checks with our nursing team, and have been making amazing progress. Their owner’s have been brilliant and patient, and have found that the dogs have achieved a very steady weight loss of over 10Kg between them, without too much difficulty over the last 6 months. Both dogs are now very close to achieving their target weights and are looking much sleeker and more agile for it, and will be reaping the health benefits too! 

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