Many farm animals are living long and healthy lives these days, but as they age, there comes a point in time when joints begin to deteriorate and keeping your animal comfortable and also productive, in some cases, becomes important.
If you notice your middle-aged or older animals showing lameness in one or more limbs, moving more slowly, or having trouble getting up and down when no apparent injury is detected, osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease) is likely to blame. This condition can also affect your animal’s appetite, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as pain can increase cortisol levels.
When dealing with arthritis, early intervention is best, and maybe it comes as no surprise that nutrition can play a critical role in both preventing and treating arthritis. Ensuring your farm animals receive a species-appropriate diet with adequate vitamins and minerals, monitoring body condition to keep them at a healthy weight, and supplementing with high-quality herbs and ingredients can all make a difference.
Note: many farm animals are susceptible to bacterial forms of arthritis, as well, but for the purposes of this blog post, we’ll stick with age-related osteoarthritis which is often manageable. Below, you’ll find information on how osteoarthritis affects specific farm animals, as well as supplements we offer to both prevent and manage the condition.
Arthritic pain in dairy cows can decrease milk production and also affect fertility in older breeding stock. Cattle may have trouble getting up and down and may also be reluctant to move. Consider the following products we offer for cattle:
Older goats are also prone to osteoarthritis, and properly managing your their living space is important. A soft floor made from sand or straw is best, as is a controlled diet, and avoiding overcrowding in goat pens and pastures.
Also, avoid diets high in calcium, as this can lead to joint degeneration. Many commercial goat feeds are targeted toward the dairy goat—not males or non-lactating females, so for pet or working goats, consider mixing your own feed with a lower calcium content. For complete joint care, supplementing with Glucosamine Powder for Goats and/or MSM Blend Powder for Goats is recommended.
Due to their long life span, llamas and alpacas are especially prone to arthritis and joint problems. Older animals may need special bedding such as short fibered straw or wood shavings in their sleep areas to keep them more comfortable.
Also be aware that older llamas and alpacas can develop dropped pasterns, which can lead to chronic pain and discomfort, especially during cold weather. For prevention and treatment of arthritis in llamas and alpacas, consider the following products:
Arthritis in Goats (Goat-Link)