Furry Facts – Osteoarthritis in pets – part one

IF your dog doesn’t jump to greet you on your return home each evening, or your cat no longer appears interested in playing with their favourite mouse toy for hours on end, there may be a good reason – osteoarthritis.

A chronic, degenerative joint disease that makes movement difficult and painful, osteoarthritis mainly strikes pets in their middle and senior years.

However, younger animals can also be affected. In fact, studies show that about 20% of dogs have the condition in some form and, even though they are less prone, cats can also suffer from it.

It can be heartbreaking to see your once lively, always active best friend begin to limp, or notice his or her obvious pain when moving around. There is no cure for osteoarthritis. However, if it is treated promptly, there is a great deal that you and your vet can do to decrease your pet’s discomfort and increase their mobility.

EARLY warning signs of osteoarthritis

  • Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of the litter box
  • An overall decrease in activity, especially play
  • Resting more than usual
  • Slowness in getting up from a lying position
  • For dogs, bunny hopping with the hind legs, rather than running normally
  • For cats, failing to groom themselves or eating less, with a resulting loss of weight
  • Slow or stiff movements upon walking, after a rest, or in cold weather
  • Beginning to limp
  • Swollen joints that are warm to the touch
  • Licking or biting at a joint
  • Personality change where your pet no longer likes to be touched

If you notice any of the signs above, don’t just think your pet is slowing down with age. Take him or her to see your vet, as the faster osteoarthritis is first diagnosed and treated, the better your pet’s quality of life will be.

Look out for part two next week, which will deal with the causes and treatments available.

 

MORE FURRY FACTS HERE

  AUTHOR
South Coast Sun

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