Although the incidence of arthritis increases with age, pets of any age can develop arthritis. This degenerative, progressive and chronic disease can show up in one or more joints. Because of the pain involved, it's important to alleviate the symptoms and slow the development of the disease.
Will my pet be prone to limping if they have arthritis?
Not necessarily. The symptoms of arthritis to watch for are more subtle to the untrained eye. Only a veterinarian will be able to confirm a diagnosis of arthritis after many additional tests.
However, here's a list of things to look out for:
- Your pet is moving around less and isn't as physically active.
- Their gait seems a little stiff or slower.
- They're hesitant to jump on furniture or have stopped jumping altogether.
- Your pet's grooming seems to be less frequent
- They're reluctant to go up or down stairs.
- Their attitude or character seems different (more irritable or aggressive).
- Your pet tends to isolate itself from others.
Are there any arthritic treatments to make my pet more comfortable?
There are many ways to ease your pet's suffering. Your veterinarian can recommend a program tailored to your pet's condition and needs. This could include modifying your pet's environment, offering specialized food, taking certain supplements (such as glucosamine or omega-3), losing weight if they're overweight, trying physiotherapy or acupuncture, or even taking medication (painkillers or anti-inflammatories).