Arthritis and your pets
Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease is a similar disease experienced in both people and pets. It is where there is inflammation of the joints, often causing pain and localised swelling. This inflammation can occur where the cartilage within the joint is worn down from either chronic injury, obesity, poor conformation, or developmental issues of the joint (e.g. hip dysplasia). Diagnosis of arthritis is made based on history and symptoms, physical examination by a veterinarian and diagnostic imaging.
Signs of arthritis in your pets can vary. In dogs and cats, the most common signs are;
• Stiffness or slowness when walking, or when getting up and down.
• Reluctance to exercise or fatiguing sooner on walks.
• Difficulty getting up and down stairs, onto beds or couches.
• Over-grooming of fur around affected joints.
• Yelping/crying when being picked up or carried.
These symptoms are often worse in the colder months of winter.
There are some simple changes that can be made at home to help keep an arthritic pet more comfortable during these months and these include;
• Ensuring your pets bedding is soft and easy for them to access – elevated beds may need to be swapped for bedding on the floor.
• Rugs or mats on slippery flooring.
• Keeping pets inside during the night or making sure they have a sheltered bed with warm blankets.
• Ongoing regular but low impact exercise.
Despite these changes your pet may still need further assistance to keep them comfortable. It is important to remember that arthritis is a degenerative disease and there is no way to reverse arthritic changes that are already present within a joint, however, we can help to slow the progression of the disease and reduce pain. Medication and joint support supplements are often needed in the ongoing management of your arthritic pet. These may include;
• Antinol joint support capsules
• Mobility support prescription diets
• Synovan injection courses
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
If you are concerned your dog or cat is suffering from osteoarthritis, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our clinics where our helpful staff will be able to further assist you.
Albion Park Veterinary Hospital (02) 4256 3638
Gerringong Veterinary Clinic (02) 4234 1317