Ask the vet: dinner diet

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

Got a curly problem with your favourite pooch? Is your cat being too catty?

While animals can bring much joy into our lives, they are not always problem free. If there is an animal issue that you need help to solve, send your question to via RACQ to the Animal Welfare League Queensland experts, to find the answer.

Dinner diet

My 13-year-old corgi Sandy suffers from stiffness in his rear legs. Should I be feeding him a special diet?

AWLQ Experts say

It sounds like Sandy could have arthritis which we are seeing more as dogs are generally living longer. Common signs relate to arthritic pain and include difficulty rising from the lying position, stiffness immediately after getting up that often goes away after a few steps, difficulty in climbing the stairs or jumping in the car, or repeated licking at the affected joint or joints (you might see saliva staining on the fur).

X-rays can help diagnose arthritis but sometimes a joint can be arthritic without any visible changes. X-rays can also help to rule out other causes of stiffness such as bone cancer or traumatic damage. Sometimes a dog will walk stiffly if they have back or neck pain, or a sore abdomen. They can also damage ligaments in their knee joints which causes instability and pain, or have knee caps that pop in and out.

Your vet can assess her and rule out a lot of these quite quickly. If the diagnosis is arthritis due to old age, then there are several things you can do to help ease the pain and slow down any further joint degeneration. An important one is a suitable diet and there are a few specially formulated diets for joint health that top-quality food companies supply. These may contain additives like omega 3 fatty acids, chondroitin and glucosamine which may help preserve cartilage. A good diet should also have a calorie controlled content as it is important for joint health to make sure your dog is not overweight. Corgis are one of those breeds that can become overweight!

Supplements are also available for dogs that contain some of the additives mentioned above as well as others. If the stiffness is particularly bad at certain times (such as during cold weather), your vet can prescribe anti-inflammatory pain relief medications, and may suggest a course of injections of what is known as a ‘disease modifying anti arthritic drug’ designed to help slow degeneration of the joints and give the dog a better quality of life.

Tackling arthritis when you first see the signs is always best to try and slow further degeneration and give Sandy a longer and happier life.

What’s your question?

Send your pet questions to roadahead@racq.com.au and Animal Welfare League Queensland‘s experts will provide the answers. Letters will not receive an individual reply and should be no more than 120 words.

AWLQ work with local councils, state government, rescue groups and the community to improve the outcomes for stray and surrendered pets.