VET’S VIEW: Joint disease is common problem

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IF you visit a health food shop or thumb the back pages of the weekend colour supplements you’re likely to be greeted by a baffling array of vitamins and supplements.

It seems there’s something for every condition you could think of, but how do you know if they are effective?

What’s more, a recent report by British and American scientists suggested that we might not even need supplements provided we have a healthy, well-balanced diet.

So, with that in mind, I was very interested to read of some new research at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), which looked at the effect of a nutritional supplement called Yumove on the mobility of groups of dogs with joint disease.

How do you scientifically assess pain in animals when you can’t ask them how they are feeling?

The vets at the RVC spent nine months planning their approach and intriguingly they used technology originally developed to monitor the movements of wild cats in Africa to measure the dogs’ activity before and after receiving the supplement.

In all, the study ran for two and a half years and the researchers found significant improvements in mobility in the dogs that received the product.

Degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis as it is know, is one of the commonest problems vets see in their canine patients – and just as with ourselves it requires long-term management by a variety of means.

Owners can help by controlling their pet’s weight, providing a warm comfortable bed and regulating exercise, while vets will often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and occasionally recommend surgery.

It’s great to know that these nutritional supplements, which by their nature are less likely to have any adverse effects, can make a real difference to our patients, so if your dog if getting a little stiff, why not ask your vet about them the next time you are visiting the surgery?