This month, we have some information about Arthritis. When the weather changes during Fall, often symptoms of arthritis begin to show in our pets. Those who have pets with arthritis may see symptoms beome more pronounced. The following Q&A will help you with basic information about arthritis, symptoms and possible options for treatment. If you suspect that your pet has arthritis, please call for a consultation with Dr. Bortell. As with any treatment plan, the sooner we start treating the issue, the more likely we can help your pet stay comfortable.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a chronic, often progressive disease which affects the joints of dogs and cats, just as it does humans. Osteoarthritis affects 20% of dogs, while 45% of cats suffer from some form of arthritis as well.
A common misconception is that only elderly pets are affected. However, animals and humans in any stage of life can show symptoms and suffer from the pain of arthritis.
Arthritis can be debilitating to your pet and greatly affect the quality of life. Although arthritis is one of the most difficult diseases to manage, there are options to care for your pet. Arthritis care minimizes the affects of the disease and makes your pet more comfortable.
What are Some Common Forms of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats?
The common forms of arthritis in dogs and cats include:
- Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
- Hip/Elbow/Knee Dysplasia
- Autoimmune forms
- Infectious forms
For more information:
What are the Warning Signs that Your Pet May Have Arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis may appear gradually so it is important to observe your pet during activity, movement, resting – lying down or sitting, for indications of discomfort. If you begin to see any of the following warning signs for arthritis, bring your pet in for an exam. The sooner treatment is started; the more comfortable your pet will be over time.
Warning signs to look for:
- Swollen joints
- Popping and cracking of the joint during movement
- Licking the joint area
- Slow to rise up from a resting position
- Change in resting position – trying to protect an area of the body from pressure
- Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain
- Unwillingness to walk jump, or climb stairs
- Accidents in the house
- Whining, panting or whimpering
- Depression or irritation
- Litter box issues (in cats)
The primary goal of Arthritis Treatment is to ease pain and stop the progression of the disease!
What Should You Do if Your Pets Show Symptoms of Arthritis?
If suspicious symptoms persist for 3-5 days, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Dr. Bortell or Dr. Hatlelid will do an exam and take a history of your pet. To determine the stage of arthritis, x-rays and blood work also may be performed.
When the results are analyzed, a treatment plan specific to your pet’s condition will be developed. The goal of arthritis treatment is to ease pain and stop the progression of the disease.
Treatment of arthritis may range from medicine and surgery to changes in diet and exercise. Complementary and alternative therapies such as herbals, supplements, and acupuncture may also be helpful.