Monday, January 6, 2014

Pet Arthritis

Arthritis isn’t exclusively limited to the human race. Our furry friends are also susceptible to this debilitating disease. In fact, arthritis affects millions of cats and dogs in the U.S.
Arthritis is caused when the smooth cartilage that protects the bones at the joint starts to break down. It’s a degenerative condition that can affect one or more joints and can be the result of an inherited condition or an injury.
And while the degenerative disease is quite common in older pets, some younger dogs and cats can also suffer from it. Although common, arthritis is not always easy to spot. Signs often go unnoticed or are simply mistaken for other ailments.

What are some common symptoms of arthritis in pets?

  • Irritability
  • Abnormal posture
  • Limping or favoring a leg
  • Limited mobility
  • Biting or compulsively licking painful areas
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Muscle atrophy (dying muscle tissue caused by inactivity)

Preventing Arthritis in Pets

Once your pet has been diagnosed with this degenerative disc disease, it will increasingly worsen over time. Here are some great steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of arthritis in your dog or cat.

Treatment Options for Pets with Arthritis

If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with arthritis, there are many treatment options available to help ease pain and provide comfort for your pet. There are a variety of anti-inflammatory medications, nutritional supplements (for cartilage loss), and physical therapy options. In some cases, surgical options are available to help improve discomfort. Your veterinarian can provide you with a treatment plan and discuss your options.

Other Steps You Can Take to Help Your Arthritic Pet

  • Give them lots of love and extra attention, including petting, massages and gentle play sessions.
  • Provide food and water at elevated levels so their spine isn’t strained
  • Provide easier access for their favorite places (such as adding a ramp or stairs to a bed/car)
  • Help with grooming parts of the body that are more difficult for them to reach
  • Invest in a good, comfortable orthopedic pet bed

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