Signs your pet has arthritis (Osteorthritis) can happen to any dog, especially when they age. Most pet owners can remember the early days, when their beloved dog or cat was full of energy, vitality, and curiosity. Many wondered if their pet would ever settle down, and even looked forward to getting through the “puppy” or “kitten” phase. Memories of those vivacious early days can make pet arthritis even harder to bear.
Signs Your Pet Has Arthritis
A very common disease in pets, arthritis affects one in five adult animals in the United States. It is caused by inflammation in the joints, which results in pain, heat, and swelling. Common signs:
- ♦ Limping
- ♦ Difficulty moving, sitting, or standing
- ♦ Tiredness
- ♦ Weight Gain
- ♦ Hesitation or decreased interest in play
- ♦ Behavioral changes
- ♦ Muscle atrophy
- ♦ Licking, chewing, or biting in affected areas
The effects of arthritis in pets are seen gradually: your dog takes a little longer to greet you in the morning, or your cat doesn’t attempt to jump as high. Some pets can even exhibit signs of depression or loss of appetite. To confirm a diagnosis of pet arthritis and not something even more serious, a visit to Whitworth Animal Clinic is essential. During this visit, Dr. Whitworth can perform x-rays and other tests to determine what type of arthritis your pet is suffering from and decide on a course of treatment.
What Are The Options for Treatment
Relief from pet arthritis pain is easiest to treat when caught early, so it’s important to visit our animal clinic as soon as you see your pet exhibiting signs for more than a week or two. Veterinary geriatrics is one of our specialties. From his years of experience as a veterinarian in the Madison area, Dr. Whitworth recommends that all animals seven years or older have an annual geriatric evaluation. These evaluations aim to diagnose health problems before they occur, keeping your pet happy and healthy, longer. We also focus on veterinary orthopedics, and our treatment plans for pet arthritis are very similar to that of a human. Typically the treatment plans include anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss, and exercise.
Not only can being overweight cause arthritis in pets, it can also speed up its progression. Simply put, being overweight increases the load on your pet’s joints. The more pounds your pet sheds, the less stress will impact his joints, and the less pain he will experience. Moderate exercise helps to strengthen muscles surrounding your pet’s joints. It also increases blood circulation and decreases inflammation, easing stiff joints. This is why diet and exercise are two key components to managing the effects of arthritis.
Because arthritis is such a common problem facing pets today, products including ramps and orthopedic beds are plentiful in today’s market. To avoid products that can waste your time and money, talk with Dr. Whitworth to find out which products are most effective for relieving arthritis in your pet. If you believe that your pet may be suffering from the effects of arthritis, visit Whitworth Animal Clinic if you live in Madison or surrounding areas in north Alabama.