Case by Case: Caring for a Pet With Arthritis
Has your pet been extra cautious attempting a jump that previously resulted in success and satisfaction? What about exhausting efforts to get comfortable? Behavioral changes? Limping? All of these indicators may point to a very common, yet surprising, diagnosis of arthritis.
Our pets may wear their hearts on their, um, sleeves, but their instincts guide them to hide any signs of illness or injury. While we’re very tuned in to pain management as pets age, it’s typically the owner who notices certain signs (however subtle they may be) that they have a pet with arthritis.
Raise the Red Flag
A pet with arthritis may display little or no signs. Others, however, will become less active and more protective of their bodies. As pets age, it’s common to use more control getting on and off surfaces or up and down stairs. However, if you see your pet pacing about trying to decide whether he or she can complete certain moves, it’s time to zero-in on what’s wrong.
With less activity, you may see weight gain, excessive sleep, and a somewhat downcast approach to things that used to thoroughly excite your pet.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is the term used to describe joint degeneration. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, develops from stress or trauma to the joints and their surrounding supports or can result from congenital defects. The chronic form of pet arthritis is degenerative joint disease. Statistically, most senior pets have this in one form or another.
The effects of arthritis in a pet are also caused by significant inflammation, some of which are infectious. Lyme disease, Ehrlichia infection, and other bacterial or fungal infections can cause arthritis symptoms. Likewise, diseases of the immune system are responsible for swollen, inflamed, and painful joints.
Helping a Pet With Arthritis
Possibly the best thing you can do for a pet with arthritis is to maintain a healthy body weight. Excess weight can exacerbate the painful symptoms of arthritis until your pet may just not want to get up anymore.
Also, while it may seem counterintuitive, keeping up a regular exercise schedule will keep those joints, bones, and muscles as happy as possible.
There are many medications available that can reduce or minimize the pain in a pet with arthritis. We’re happy to discuss a supportive treatment plan with you and provide guidance for the best possible nutritional program.
Cold or drafts are particularly punishing for a pet with arthritis. Make sure your pet has a warm, supportive place to rest that’s close to you but not right in the action of the household.
Give Us a Call
If you suspect your pet is battling arthritis, please don’t be shy about contacting us. The sooner you can arrange for treatment and supportive care, the better he or she will be in the long run.
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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!