Arthritis Might Be the Biggest Heartbreak You Suffer With Your Pet
Though you might have thought otherwise, arthritis is actually a very common condition found in pets. In fact, arthritis is the most common condition bringing middle-aged and older dogs and cats to the vet.
Whether your pet is young, old, or somewhere in between, it pays to familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of arthritis and to take whatever preventive measures you can in order to hold off the condition’s progress as long as possible.
Arthritis can be a source of great pain to your pet, negatively affecting the quality of their life for many years. What’s more, because of the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis in pets, affected animals are far less likely to get the type and duration of exercise that they need in order to stay healthy in other ways. Thankfully, there are treatments that can be quite effective in older pets.
What Is the Condition Known as Arthritis?
Simply put, arthritis is the breaking down, or wearing down of cartilage in a joint that moves abnormally. A joint can be destabilized in any of a thousand ways, and once that joint is destabilized, the cartilage begins to wear unevenly. Eventually, the cartilage wears away partially or entirely, leaving the joint in a state where bone can rub directly on bone. This rubbing of bone on bone can lead to pain and chronic inflammation, also known as arthritis.
Preventing Arthritis in Your Pets
For those of you who own young pets and haven’t had to experience the potential for crippling degenerative joint issues that are so often the disease’s calling card, arthritis can seem like a far-off issue in your animal’s distant future. But the fact is that arthritis can begin early in a pet’s life, and the best way to prevent it from happening is to keep your pets at a healthy weight throughout their lives.
There are also many supplements available to help prevent the onset of arthritis in older dogs. But dialing in the exact dose for your pet’s age, weight, and health can be tricky. Specialized diets for older pets that are at risk for arthritis are probably a better way to go.
Symptoms of Arthritis
No matter what you may do to prevent the onset of arthritis, it may still affect your pet at some point in their life. Knowing the symptoms and keeping an eye out for them is a great way to stay in front of the disease, as well as ensuring that your pet receives treatment as early as possible.
Arthritis symptoms to watch out for include, limping, difficulty in moving, spinal issues, lethargy, irritability, and muscle atrophy. Additionally, some pets that are affected with the condition may chew, bite, or persistently lick affected joints, causing skin issues in the process.
Treatment of Arthritis in Companion Animals
Though arthritis cannot actually be cured, there are various remedies and procedures that can help ease the pain for your pet. Be sure to consult your veterinarian for advice if you believe your dog or cat is suffering from arthritis.
Author: Giano Panzarella