Just like humans, as animals age, the protective cartilage that covers the end of their bones begins to wear out. The medical term for this is osteoarthritis.

Falling temperatures often result in joint pain for cats or dogs who have started to develop arthritis.

Signs of Pain. Your pet probably isn’t going to cry out from the pain of arthritis. Cats are especially prone to hiding their pain. For cats and dogs, there are subtle signs that you can watch for:

german shepherd

Dr. Bolynn performing an evaluation.

•Difficulty in getting up
•Joint stiffness
•Decreased interest in walks, play
•Sensitivity to being petted
•Difficulty when squatting for elimination
•Licking joints
•Weight gain

Because of their weight, certain breeds of large dogs are more susceptible to developing arthritis, like retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Great Danes. If you have a larger dog, we recommend that you proactively purchase insurance, such as Trupanion.

Treating the Pain. If we diagnose your pet with arthritis, we will create a tailored pain management plan. It may include traditional pharmaceutical solutions, Western and Chinese herbal therapies, joint health supplements, or even acupuncture. We may also recommend specific dietary and exercise regimens.

Delaying the Pain. You can minimize your pet’s risk of arthritis or delay its onset by forming good habits early. One of the biggest factors is maintaining a healthy weight, so that there is not so much pressure on the joints. A good diet – starting at birth – is crucially important, and as your dog ages, we may suggest supplements to support good joint health. Regular exercise is also important.

Talk to us if you suspect that your pet has or is developing osteoarthritis. We’ll evaluate your pet, and if we find joint issues, we’ll help you manage it. Our goal is to help your pet live a healthy, active, and happy life.

Word Part Lesson: Osteo (Bone) Arth (Joint) Itis (Inflammation)