Arthritis in Pets
Arthritis is a common problem in pets, especially seniors and large breed dogs. While there isn't a cure for this progressive disease, identifying arthritis early and starting appropriate treatments can keep your pet comfortable, active, and improve their quality of life. At Central Animal Hospital in Scarsdale NY, our veterinary staff is here to help you understand how to recognize your pet’s arthritis and provide a treatment plan.
What is Arthritis?
As with people, arthritis is a degenerative joint disease. It causes inflammation in the joint(s) due to the deterioration of cartilage. When joints are healthy, the cartilage provides cushioning, so the joint moves easily. When cartilage begins to break down, the joint moves stiffly, resulting in a decreased range of motion. Additionally, arthritis causes pain and inflammation. In pets, arthritis most commonly develops in the leg joints and the lower spine. Cartilage can break down due to age, repetitive stress, injury, or disease.
Risk Factors for Arthritis in Pets
Any pet can develop arthritis at any point in their life. However, here are the most common risk factors for arthritis:
- Certain breeds, such as Persian, Siamese, or Himalayan cats or large dog breeds
- Incomplete nutrition
- Accident or injury
- Infections that impact the joints
- Hereditary defects
Signs of Arthritis in Your Pet
Unfortunately, many pets—especially dogs—hide signs of pain, so it's challenging to detect arthritis in the early stages. Having regular wellness checkups with your veterinarian, particularly as your pet becomes older, can help with recognizing early signs.
When monitoring your pet for arthritis, here’s some signs to look for:
- Decreased activity, including less interest in playing, running or jumping
- Limping or walking stiffly
- Pain or difficulty holding self steady when being petted
- Loss of muscle tone on limbs or spine
- Trouble when using the bathroom
Treating Your Pet's Arthritis
The treatment of arthritis focuses on controlling pain, reducing inflammation, slowing the development of the disease, and maintaining your pet's quality of life. Some common treatments for arthritis to discuss with your veterinarian include:
- Joint supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin
- Pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Losing weight
- Identifying a proper level of activity to keep the joints moving
Call Central Animal Hospital in Scarsdale to Discuss if Your Pet May Have Arthritis
It's essential to get your pet evaluated at the earliest signs of arthritis by a veterinarian. Call our hospital, Central Animal Hospital in Scarsdale, NY, at 914-723-1250 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping ensure your pet has a healthy quality of life.