As winter sets in and the temperature drops, vets often see an increase in arthritis cases in both young and old animals. One in five dogs suffers from the pain and disability caused by arthritis. Cats can also suffer from the damaging effects of this condition and may have difficulty grooming themselves or going to the toilet.
Sadly, the majority of these pets go undiagnosed and untreated as their owners don’t understand the reality of this condition. However, pets experience real pain with arthritis, comparable to the pain experienced by humans with this disease.
Arthritis is actually one of the most common conditions affecting dogs but as pets are unable to communicate their pain, the early signs of this illness are often missed by owners and simply attributed to old age.
Yet arthritis is a chronic, painful, degenerative condition that can develop gradually over time, affecting one or more joints (typically the hips, knees and elbows) and causing much inflammation and pain.
Arthritis is not limited to certain breeds and it can affect any pet at any age. It can influence a pet’s quality of life and prevent it from enjoying simple, daily activities such as walking, running or playing.
Signs that a pet may be suffering from arthritis
- Reluctance to walk or play
- Stiffness of joints in the morning or after a sleep
- Licking or biting of joints
- Difficulty in rising from a resting position
- Difficulty in climbing stairs
- Change in personality – less happy and playful or sometimes aggressive and irritable
Early detection and proactive treatment are essential to ensure your pet’s comfort and quality of life as they age.
There are many options available to aid in the prevention of pets that are at risk of arthritis – e.g. large breeds, overweight, having sustained injury, and those over seven years of age. If you would like to know more, contact your local Greencross Vets for more information.