One of the most common problems our veterinarians at the Katy Area Veterinary Medical Group sees is the onset of pet arthritis in aging dogs and cats. Over time, the cartilage becomes worn and this creates a condition where you have bones rubbing against bones. Osteoarthritis is the same in pets as it is in humans. As unfortunate as this may be, the good news is that pet arthritis can be managed so that your elderly pet can still enjoy life.
What are the signs of pet arthritis?
One of the first things you may notice is that your pet no longer wants to jump up on furniture like the couch or the bed. Your pet will move slower when they come to greet you at the door. This may happen slowly at first and then increase in frequency. Many times the signs will be more obvious in a pet that was normally very active because that's when you will notice less interest in things like running or going for a daily walk.
Is pet arthritis curable?
We haven't yet found a cure for pet arthritis, but it is very easy to treat. You can start by making sure your pet is a healthy weight. This will help ease pressure on the legs and hips. There are a number of foods specially-formulated for senior dogs that have supplements that are thought to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. Your vet can also help you decide on an acceptable exercise program and pain management.
What kind of exercise can my pet do?
Your pet will be the best at determining how active they feel comfortable being. For dogs, shorter walks may be necessary. Swimming is a great activity if your pet likes it. This helps ease pressure on joints and still allows activity. Avoid things like jumping and climbing.
What about pain management?
Your pet's system is made up differently than a human’s system and some medications that you would take can be harmful to them. Your vet can prescribe special pain medication based on your pet's species and size. This will help ease pain and reduce inflammation.
Will my pet be sad?
Animals handle things like arthritis differently than humans do. Your pet will accept the changes for what they are. As long as you do what you can to keep reducing their pain and work on staying as active as possible, they will feel your love and can live a very happy life.
Let Us Help
If your dog or cat is showing signs of arthritis, set an appointment with us at the Katy Area Veterinary Medical Group and allow our veterinarians to evaluate your pet. We may not have your pet running around like a young puppy or kitten, but they will still enjoy the high quality of life that their many years of loyalty have earned them.