Arthritis – dogs
Is your dog “showing his age”? If so, try this simple test.
Compared to several years ago is your dog:
- slower to get up after lying down?
- having problems with jumping in and out of the car or climbing stairs?
- less keen to exercise?
- Tiring more easily?
- showing any signs of stiffness?
A large percentage of dogs suffer from arthritis in the UK and many receive no treatment at all. The majority of these experience moderate to severe levels of pain. Arthritis is quite common in older dogs but can affect any dogs of any age.
Arthritis is a progressive deterioration of joint function that can cause discomfort and pain. Clinical signs vary considerably including lameness, which slowly becomes more severe and frequent with time, or a noticeable stiff gait. These signs are often aggravated by exercise, long periods of lying down or cold weather.
Your vet will be happy to give your dog an arthritis check-up involving gait analysis, weight, heart rate, pulse rate and joint manipulation as well as history taking to see if any signs of arthritis are being shown at home.
Arthritic dogs treated with simple measures like weight reduction, correct exercise and medication often respond with a remarkable increase in vigour. It is important to understand that the medication is usually long-term as although a short course might make a remarkable difference to your dog's discomfort, if the medication is stopped, your dog's health will relapse again.
It is impossible to reverse the arthritic changes. In consultation with your vet, the right measures can be taken to slow down the arthritic process so that older pets can enjoy many more quality years, free from discomfort and pain.
Mobility Problems in Cats
Mobility problems in cats are more common than you think with 80 per cent of cats over 12 years of age suffering from arthritis.
One of the reasons joint problems occur is when cartilage wears away faster than it can be replaced. When it wears away, joints become swollen and painful thus creating difficulties with mobility.
Signs of Mobility Problems
If your cat has joint problems, the first thing you’ll notice are lifestyle and behavioural changes such as a reduced ability or willingness to jump up or down from heights, increased sleep, less interaction between you and your cat, difficulty going up or down stairs, problems negotiating the litter box, poor grooming and less purring!
What causes joint problems in cats?
Although young cats can suffer with joint problems, it is much more common in older cats, because there are changes in the cartilage that occur with age.
Breed and genetics
Some breeds of cats may be more likely to develop joint problems through imperfect joints. For example Persian, Siamese and Himalayan cats may develop hip dysplasia.
Overweight and obese cats may have more severe problems because of the increased stress on affected joints.
Accidents and damage
Cats are very agile pets that enjoy climbing and jumping. Over time, the stress that is put on their joints may contribute to deterioration in cartilage. Additional stress can be caused by the trauma from accidents.
Other factors can contribute to joint problems in cats such as inflammation and infection in the joints and bony fractures affecting the joints.
Treatment is available to help ensure your cat is more comfortable in the form of medication and also special prescription diets. If you are concerned about your cat, talk to your vet about possible treatment options.