Degenerative Joint Disease and Your Pet

Degenerative Joint Disease and Your Pet

OldManDogIt is not just people who suffer from arthritis, pets can hurt too. As we understand more and more about how pets feel pain, it is becoming very clear that dogs and cats alike suffer from degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis, as they age.

This condition results the deterioration of cartilage in the joints, resulting in inflammation, pain, and lameness.

If your pet is beginning to age, or if you’ve started to notice changes in how your pet moves, you’ll want to know what to expect when it comes to degenerative joint disease and your pet.

Diagnosing DJD

Early signs that your pet may be suffering from degenerative joint disease (DJD) can include a weaker desire to engage in physical activity or not wanting to participate in certain activities that they once did without any issues.

Most animals do not know to feel sorry for themselves, however; and may show no warning signs at all. As joint disease progresses, you might also see:

  • Difficulty/slowness in rising
  • Having a hard time climbing the stairs, jumping up
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Lying down more than previously
  • Stiffness or limping that gets better with exercise
  • Limping or lameness that does not go away
  • Your veterinarian will examine your pet and may wish to take radiographs (X-rays) to further look at your pet’s bones and joints. A diagnosis of degenerative joint disease may simply be made based on a physical examination.

    Treating DJD

    Unfortunately, there is no cure for DJD, but thankfully there are multiple treatment options for pets who suffer from degenerative joint disease.

    Your veterinarian may recommend nutraceuticals, products designed to support joint health such as glucosamine. Many pets also benefit from being on medical therapy including a non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medication. Alternative and adjunctive therapies including cold laser therapy or physical therapy can also be very beneficial to pets suffering from degenerative joint disease.

    Another important aspect of treating osteoarthritis in pets is often weight management. Excess weight can place extra stress on already challenged joints. We do carry prescription food that can help with DJD in our hospital. Please contact us for more information.

    With degenerative joint disease being one of the most prominent diseases affecting our dogs and cats, it is important for pet owners to recognize its presence and be proactive about helping their pets.

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    Schertz Animal Hospital

    Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!