Arthritis in Pets Isn't Just a Condition in Senior Dogs and Cats
Arthritis in pets is a condition we see every day at Nall Hills Animal Hospital and Grooming Center in Overland Park, KS. What many dog and cat owners may find surprising is that arthritis is not just a condition of older animals. Over 90 percent of cats have arthritis by the time they are twelve years old, but arthritic joint disease can be detected in about 22 percent of kittens. Dogs can suffer degenerative joint disease in old age, but dogs of any age may develop rheumatoid arthritis after exposure to Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
Early treatment of arthritis in pets is always more effective. Your veterinarian can prescribe safe drugs to relieve your pet's pain, and also help you to make lifestyle changes to accommodate the mobility needs of your arthritic pet. But first you need to know the symptoms of arthritis in pets.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in pets?
Dogs and cats of any age can display these symptoms of arthritis:
- A dog or a cat that has arthritis will favor a non-arthritic limb over an arthritic limb. Pets will shift their weight from one leg to another to avoid joint pain.
- Pets with arthritis may have difficulty sitting or standing, and they may become less interested in play and hesitant to go up and down steps.
- Arthritis in pets may make them sleep more.
- Pets with arthritis may gain weight.
- Pets with arthritis may have obviously sore or painful joints.
Dogs, especially big dogs, are usually not afraid to reveal their pain. Cats will tend to disguise their pain by hiding more. That's because cats go to great lengths not to appear vulnerable to larger animals.
What can owners do to accommodate arthritis in pets?
The most important thing any pet owner can do to help their pet with arthritis is to give them opportunities to stay active without pain. Your dog may no longer be able to run along as you ride your bike, but he will still enjoy a walk on level ground. Your cat won't be able to leap up to the top of her climbing tower, but she will still enjoy walking up a ramp to her favorite high perch. Food and water bowls for both dogs and cats can be elevated off the floor so pets do not have to bend to eat or drink (and kitty's bowls can be moved from the counter to the floor). The cat's litter box should have an easy entrance, without climbing over a barrier at the entrance, and be long enough to accommodate the cat without her bending her back. Dogs and cats that have arthritis should have all of their activities on the same floor.
At some point, every owner of a dog or a cat that has arthritis will have to learn how to give their pet pills for pain relief, but the pills pet owners give their beloved pets must be veterinarian-prescribed. Over-the-counter products that relieve arthritis pain in people can be deadly for pets.
See Your Veterinarian at Nall Hills Animal Hospital for pain relief.
Don't let your pet live suffer treatable arthritis pain. Request an appointment with Dr. Teeter, Dr. Minor, or Dr. Warren online today, or call us at (913) 341-8836