Did you know that your pets can get arthritis? It is not fun, but it is true. Recognizing the signs of arthritis helps you keep your pet as comfortable and healthy for as long as possible. Dr. Bath at Alum Rock Animal Hospital in San Jose treats a variety of health issues in pets, including arthritis.
Understanding Pet Arthritis
Multiple types of arthritis exist, and when people talk about pets having arthritis, they typically mean osteoarthritis. You may have heard it called a degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is the same thing but a different name.
Arthritis is similar in pets as it is in humans. Inflammation causes painful joints that can lead to limping, excessive licking or scratching at the joint, and decreased interest in favorite activities because they cause pain. A common factor in this inflammation is cartilage wearing down. This happens naturally as animals age, and older pets are more likely to develop arthritis.
Other risk factors for pet arthritis include injuries, repeated stress from activities or exercise, poor nutrition, and joint infections. Size also plays an important role. Larger breeds and overweight animals are more prone to arthritis. The former is especially important with dogs. German Shepherds, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers have an increased risk of developing arthritis.
Just because you have one of those breeds does not mean arthritis is guaranteed, and the opposite is also true. That is why it is so important to know the signs of arthritis in case your pet starts to develop it.
Symptoms of Pet Arthritis
Aside from the obvious limping or stiffness, lethargy, increased weight, muscle loss, and reluctance to play or move, there are a few other signs to watch out for. If your pet reacts negatively when you touch it, arthritis pain could be at play. Having accidents inside your home may also result from painful arthritis, which makes it difficult for your pet to move to the appropriate area to relieve itself.
Diagnosing and Treating Pet Arthritis
Our veterinarian will perform a physical exam to check for arthritis. We may recommend scans and tests to rule out other causes of the symptoms. However, arthritis may be the obvious cause if your pet is large, obese, or elderly. It can be frustrating to learn that there is no cure for pet arthritis. However, you can take a few steps to help your pets.
- Give joint supplements to slow the progression of arthritis and improve joint health
- Treat pain with NSAIDs, so your pet can live a happier life
- Manage your pet's weight to reduce the strain on its joints
Contact Our Veterinarian in San Jose, CA
Contact Alum Rock Animal Hospital if you have noticed any of the symptoms we have listed and are concerned about pet arthritis. Call Dr. Bath today at (408) 258-2735 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.