It can sometimes be difficult to wade through the large amounts of information on the subject of canine and feline arthritis. Sometimes you just don’t have time to read every little thing out there!
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled the five things you should know about arthritis when it comes to keeping your pet healthy. Read this, and you'll be well on your way to taking great care of your pet!
1. Arthritis is not life-threatening.
In the end, arthritis will not kill your pet. However, it can severely hinder your pet’s quality of life by making it much harder for them to move around and to play with both you and other dogs. No one wants their pet to be in pain or to watch their dog struggle to climb stairs, which is why you should treat your pet for arthritis as soon as the symptoms first begin to show themselves.
2. Old age is the most common cause of arthritis.
In a lot of cases, a lifetime full of playing, jumping, and running wears down the cartilage on your pet’s joints. As your pet gets older, their cartilage regrews in a more jagged and less complete way, causing pain in their joints. It's not that your pet is unhealthy. It's simply time starting to catch up to your dog or cat. And while old age is the most common cause of arthritis, it certainly isn't the only cause. The condition can also come from previous joint ailments like hip dysplasia.
3. Watch for a limp. It could be a sign of arthritis.
If your pet is exhibiting a noticeable limp, they may have arthritis. The limp should be especially noticeable after your pet has been sleeping or resting for a long time. If your pet struggles to get up after being still consistently, you should have them checked out by a vet. You should also look to see if one of your pet's limbs has lost a noticeable amount of muscle mass. This could be a sign that they have been trying to keep their weight off that leg, because the joint has been bothering them.
4. Keep your pet trim to help with arthritis pain.
Exercise is important when treating arthritis, because it will keep your pet slim and thus keep weight off their joints. Less weight means less strain! Overweight dogs put more stress on their joints than those that are healthy. But you have to be careful. Over-exercise could damage your pet’s joints even more. That’s why some recommend hydrotherapy for pets suffering from arthritis. Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that spares your pet’s joints from too much pounding.
5. There are two main types of arthritis medicine: pain killers and joint health supplements.
The most common types of arthritis medications for dogs and cats are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, otherwise known as NSAIDs. Think of NSAIDs as a dog version of Tylenol or Advil. Popular NSAID type drugs like Rimadyl and Deramaxx help fight inflammation in your dog’s joints, as well as give them pain relief that can help them move more freely. While NSAIDs can be toxic for cats, both cats and dogs can take joint health supplements. However, make sure to only give cats products that are specially engineered for them. Many supplements that support joint health for dogs and cats come in capsule form and can easily be taken with food. They work to help your pet’s cartilage rebuild, while also fighting inflammation.
See? That wasn't that hard. You now know a lot more about canine and feline arthritis than you did just a few minutes ago. Now go help your pet live the best life they can!
Causes of Dog and Cat Arthritis
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Dog and Cat Arthritis Treatment
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.