Arthritis affects at least 1 in every 5 dogs in the U.S., and is the #1 undiagnosed health problem in cats. It is one of the most common sources of chronic pain that veterinarians treat, and can shorten a pet’s life drastically if not managed properly.
Arthritis causes relentless deterioration of the joints, causing pain levels to escalate, which can ruin a pet’s mobility and quality of life, and break his owner’s heart.
Early diagnosis, and a thorough management plan, are critical in halting the advancement of the disease and protecting your pet’s mobility and quality of life.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment Are Your Pet’s Best Friends
How do you know if your pet is silently suffering from the pain of arthritis? Dogs and cats can’t tell us what’s wrong with them, so it’s important to watch their non-verbal cues closely and take even subtle changes seriously.
Signs that your dog may have arthritis:
- Weight gain with no dietary change
Attitude and behavior changes (sullen, grumpy or clingy, or wanting to be left alone)
Decreased activity or less interest in play/favorite activities
Unexplained habit changes: doesn’t get up to greet guests, doesn’t go upstairs to check on the kids, doesn’t play with toys
Sleeping more, restlessness & frequent shifting while sleeping
Hesitant or refuses to jump, run or climb stairs
Favoring a limb by holding a foot up, leaning, or shifting weight
Difficulty sitting or standing for any length of time
Lameness, seeming to have stiff or sore joints
Being less alert
Signs that your cat may have arthritis;
- Laying around more than usual
- Not jumping up on the counters, washer/dryer, other high places
- Resenting being petted in certain areas, especially the hips
If your dog or cat seems to have any of these symptoms, he needs to be seen by the doctors at Windmill Animal Hospital as soon as possible for an arthritis evaluation, which will involve a thorough physical exam and possible X-rays and lab work. If arthritis is confirmed, a personalized management plan will be created for your pet, designed to maximize his comfort and mobility, and minimize your expense.
The best thing to do for your pet in managing his arthritis is to have him evaluated by the doctors at Windmill Animal Hospital and start a personalized management plan as soon as possible.
Treating canine arthritis can be quite similar to that of human osteoarthritis. Treating feline arthritis is very different, due to the limited number of medications that can be used in cats.
Therapies to manage pet arthritis used by the doctors at Windmill Animal Hospital generally include:
· Weight management: the cornerstone of arthritis management in dogs and cats
· Pain management: to restore your pet’s mobility and quality of life
· Nutritional supplements: to help restore cartilage integrity and joint lubrication
· Presciption Diet J/D: packed full of antioxidants, EFA’s and other nutrients to help joint health
· Stem cell therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy: all cutting-edge therapies for management of arthritis
One last word of advice from the doctors of Windmill Animal Hospital:
Never give your dog human medication without checking first with the doctors at Windmill Animal Hospital. Many medications are too toxic to use in dogs – particularly acetaminophen and ibuprofen; a safe dose of one of the few human medications safe for use in dogs will differ hugely between a greyhound and a dachshund.
Never, ever, give your cat human medication! Cats have unique livers, and are uniquely incapable of tolerating most medications humans take, especially NSAIDs and narcotics. Cats’ reactions to opioids and other narcotics are extremely unpredictable.
If you suspect your pet is affected with arthritis, give us a call and schedule an appointment today! Our doctors will work with you to design a custom-tailored arthritis management plan for your pet that will relieve his pain, restore his mobility, and give you BOTH better quality of life!