Arthritis, which includes osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative joint disease), is a chronic condition that can affect cats and dogs of all ages. Many people believe only older animals can suffer from this disease, but this is not the case. Factors other than age, such as genetics, obesity, injury, or intense and repetitive exercise have been shown to cause arthritis.
What are the signs of arthritis?
It can present differently in different animals, but there are some signs you might notice if your pet has developed arthritis. Many of these signs become apparent in hot or cold weather. They include:
- Stiffness after resting or exercise
- Difficulty going up or down stairs, jumping or running
- Difficulty remaining sitting or standing
- Less interested in physical activity
- Jerky movements
- Aggression when joints are touched
- Excessive licking of joints
- Difficulty grooming
- Intermittent limping
Which arthritis treatments can help my pet?
Here are a few treatment options that can help alleviate discomfort. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best option and set up a follow-up schedule to monitor your pet’s physical condition. You can also help your cat or dog by adapting to their changing needs.
- Switch their diet to one that’s rich in omega-3 and provide glucosamine sulfate supplements
- Maintain a healthy weight for your pet
- Offer a balanced exercise routine (not too much and not too little)
- Prioritize water-based exercise, low-impact activities or set up a plan with an animal physiotherapist
- Allow for enough rest for inflammation to subside and joints to strengthen
- Medicate with drugs such as corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or injections
- Seek surgery in certain severe cases