Just as humans become more susceptible to arthritis as they age, so do cats and dogs. Arthritis is a degenerative disease that produces painful inflammation in the joints. Some younger pets may also be at risk of developing arthritis due to injuries or a genetic predisposition. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, your pet can still live comfortably with arthritis. Here’s what every pet owner should know about the symptoms and options for pets with arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Pets
Many of the physical signs of arthritis are symptoms of the joint pain it can cause. Animals who are limping or reluctant to move around may be experiencing hip inflammation; in turn, this can lead to lethargy, depression, and weight gain. Many times these changes happen very gradually. For sudden behavioral changes, get to an animal hospital for emergency vet options and care.
Diagnosis of Arthritis in Pets
Our pets can’t always tell us what’s wrong in words, but your veterinarian can run a few diagnostic tests to check for signs of inflammation. Most veterinarians recommend check-ups twice a year for older pets to catch early signs of conditions like arthritis and other diseases of aging.
Treating Arthritis in Pets
Emergency vet options such as pet surgery are available to treat advanced stages of arthritis, but less severe symptoms can be treated with medicines to make your animal a little more comfortable. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can reduce both swelling and pain, while chondroprotective agents can help to aide cartilage repair in the joint areas.
Preventing Arthritis in Pets
There are many factors at play in the development of arthritis, including the facts of aging, so unfortunately, prevention isn’t always possible. However, catching arthritis in its early stages is the best way to stop it from becoming more serious. Some breeds, particularly large dogs, are more prone to arthritis than others. Keep on the lookout for changes in your pet’s stride or behavior to identify arthritis before it becomes too painful.
Caring for older pets and pets with arthritis can be a challenge, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Contact our veterinary services for the help and resources you need to give your pet the best care possible.
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