Osteoarthritis usually involves joints which sustain a great deal of movement, such as the neck, spine, elbows, knees, hips and toes of our dogs and cats. A required large range of motion and the demands of constant use, especially bearing weight can damage the cartilage of the joints. Not just age, but rapid growth, performance and injuries can all lead to joint damage. Repetitive motions and just plain everyday wear and tear contribute to the loss of joint tissue. When stress and inflammation continue long enough, osteoarthritis becomes chronic and can remain for the rest of the animal’s life.
Age is a factor in cartilage health. The destructive process is accelerated by inflammation and injury, often accompanying aging. The process of cartilage synthesis is heavily dependent upon adequate nutrition and is also slowed with advancing age.
Damage to joint cartilage is likely to lead to long term joint problems. This is largely because cartilage does not have a direct supply of blood and thus cannot be quickly repaired naturally by the body. Joints are also particularly vulnerable to degeneration because it is common for the needs of their repair to outstrip the body’s ability to produce new cartilage.
Cartilage is very tough and resilient, but it is slow in its repair and replacement, often even slower than bone. This has several implications, one of which is that, unlike many other tissues, relieving the symptoms of cartilage injury may not be synonymous with repair. The use of aspirin, ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will relieve the pain of arthritis, but these do nothing to encourage joint repair. In fact, NSAIDs can actually accelerate the degenerative process while they mask the underlying problem by reducing the pain.
Giant breeds and highly active breeds should not be allowed to become overweight throughout growth or anytime else for that matter. Performance athletes are always prone to injury and our seniors need to remain mobile and flexible. All of the above requires supplementing with additional joint health ingredients.
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