Julia’s Weekly Column For The Middy
Our Pyramid of Care is built to support ageing pets just when they need it
They say you know you are middle-aged when you sigh just after you have sat down. Or is it when you wince as you get up?
Perhaps doing both is focusing my mind on arthritis and mobility issues in my patients as
the days get shorter. This has led us to evolve our Pyramid of Care for arthritic pets.
My team and I now conduct specialist Mobility Clinics for cats, dogs and even rabbits to
support owners and their pets with joint disease, especially since we learned that 80% of cats over 12 years old have joint issues.
As a team, we support our patients, starting with the foundations of our pyramid: weight
control and sensible exercise.
Heavier pets, especially those who are overweight, put more pressure on their joints and therefore experience more pain. We work with pet owners to help their pets lose weight in a steady, controlled and sustainable manner. It is often amazing how much better they can then move just for shedding some pounds!
But being able to play and run more is not always a good thing. I often hear people tell me
that their pet ‘pays for it’ the next day by being stiff and uncomfortable. For these I
recommend a regular amount of exercise every day, with no long marathons or pub crawls
at the weekends. And as they get older we encourage five 10-minute walks a day rather than one 50-minute one, as this loosens up the joints and warms the muscles, helping to get the circulation going better.
Then we build on these foundations with non-medical therapies, exploring the use of
changes in the home, massage, physiotherapy, laser acupuncture and nutraceuticals to
support joint health.
Only once all these factors are in place do we reach to the Pharmacy shelf for drugs. No pet
should be in pain, and cats in particular are notorious for concealing signs of illness or pain.
But painkillers only allow pets to cope with the pain. They do not heal the problem itself, so we prefer to tackle the issues in other ways first.
Our pet owners fill in mobility score sheets regularly so that we can monitor the success of
our methods, and detect deteriorations over time. And our wonderful Nurses help with
lessons on massage, weight control, exercise plans and more.
If your older pet has been slowing down recently, or takes a little longer to settle into bed, they deserve a Mewes Mobility check. Give our caring team a call on 01444 456886 for an appointment.