Is your pet suffering from osteoarthritis?

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As the cooler weather approaches, it is important to take time to check your pet for signs of arthritis. Recent research has shown one in five dogs and cats will suffer pain and disability from arthritis, yet many owners don’t recognise it as a problem. This is because our pets often suffer in silence. Owners also put signs such as slow to get out of bed or difficulty going up stairs down to old age when really it is due to pain. The result is that many animals with arthritis go undiagnosed and untreated.

Signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis include reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump or play, limping, difficulty rising from a resting position, yelping in pain or behavioural changes such as being aggressive or irritable. In cats, signs tend to be more subtle and include not jumping, pulling themselves up rather than jumping and poorly kept coats because they aren’t grooming themselves properly.

Arthritis is a degenerative disease of one or more joints commonly affecting the hip, knee and elbow joints. All sizes and types of dogs are diagnosed with osteoarthritis and large breed dogs such as Labradors, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Mastiffs are more at risk. Cats are seen increasingly with osteoarthritis and can be easily overlooked.

Although arthritis cannot be cured, it can be managed. A number of treatments are available and often a combination of treatments will be used to achieve the best results. Types of treatment include weight loss, gentle exercise (swimming is especially good as it does not stress the arthritic joints), and medication to help reduce the pain in the joints and to slow the progression of the disease. Simple things like a comfortable bed that is easy to get into and out of, can make a big difference.

Park Ridge Animal Hospital has seen some fantastic results with a combination of injections and oral supplements over the last few years. These products can often mean anti-inflammatory medication can be stopped or reduced which is a great result however all pets are different.

Early diagnosis and treatment by your veterinarian is vital as this is the best way to limit the progression of the disease and make sure your pet is not in pain.

If you're worried about your pet, contact Park Ridge Animal Hospital or Browns Plains Veterinary Surgery today to arrange a checkup.

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