Arthritis in dogs and cats
Arthritis is one of the most common ailments affecting middle aged to senior dogs and cats. It can be a source of chronic pain and negatively affect their quality of life. Also known as degenerative joint disease, arthritis occurs when a joint is unstable causing the bones to move abnormally within the joint.
The most obvious sign of arthritis is a limping dog or cat. However, there are numerous other subtle signs that may indicate your pet is uncomfortable. Often what people notice is that their older pet seems to be ‘slowing down’. Perhaps your dog doesn’t charge up the stairs like he used to or takes a bit longer to recover after a long day of playing. If your dog used to follow you around the house and now he just stays in one place, this could also be a sign of mobility issues.
Since cats aren’t usually as active as dogs, their signs of arthritis may be revealed differently. Cats with arthritis may start urinating or defecating out of the litter box because it is too painful for them to jump into it. You may also notice that your cat is grooming excessively in one area, which could indicate focal arthritis pain. These are just a few examples.
If you notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour, it is important to bring your furry friend into our clinic so we can check if they may be suffering from arthritis.
Larger breed dogs such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds can have a genetic predisposition to develop joint disease in their hips and elbows. You can prevent the pain of arthritis and joint discomfort by feeding them a large breed puppy food that is specifically designed to ensure your furry friend is receiving nutritional balance. This allows their bones and joints to develop at an appropriate rate, as if growth occurs too quickly then the joints may form abnormally and result in joint disease later in life.
If your pet is suffering from arthritis, there is a lot of preventative measures you can take to reduce the pain your pet experiences. One of the most effective preventative measures for arthritis is making sure your pet is a healthy weight. This will reduce the stress that the body places on joints and help keep things moving as they should. If you notice that your dog or cat has a little ‘extra padding’ around their ribs or belly, please speak to our friendly team about a weight loss plan. You can also speak to us about the best ways to keep your furry friend moving!