We all know someone with arthritis, a painful and joint stiffening condition, but could you tell if your cat or dog had the same condition? It can be difficult, we would all recognise a stiff or limping animal but a lot of signs do go unnoticed. This is for various reasons;
Older pets may limp, be stiff when they first get up in the morning, they may struggle to get up steps or jump on and off beds. Cats may have trouble getting into litter trays easily and this can lead to them urinating or defaecating in unusual places!
We assume our pets ‘slow down’ as they get older, but cats or dogs that spend more time sleeping or don’t want to walk very far may be arthritic. Once treated they become ‘younger’ again!
Pets have four legs (unlike us with two!) so they can shift the weight around making lameness harder to spot.
Animals tend to ‘accept’ the discomfort so don’t show signs, cats are particularly good at this.
Often the only way to see if your pet has arthritis is to put him or her on painkillers and if you see them brightening up and happier then that is the diagnosis!
Obviously any medication can affect other areas of the body so it is important any treatment is carefully monitored and the ‘whole pet’ is considered. There are many drugs available (pills, injections and liquids) but also nutraceuticals (such as Chondroitin and Glucosamine), weight control, exercise, laser therapy and treating any other problems are vitally important too.
We have a physiotherapist, Donna, who comes into the practice and can help.
Don’t let your older pet be uncomfortable, give us a ring for an appointment, we can check them over and advise on treatment options and lifestyle changes if required.