Arthritis is defined as a medical condition characterized by inflammation of a joint. Even though it mostly affects older and middle-aged pets, arthritis is not limited to a certain age group and can affect younger pets too. While there are over 100 different types of arthritis in humans, there are only a few types of pet arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis that is also known as degenerative joint disease. Other types are septic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis caused by infections.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Pets
In the early stages of the disease, there might be no symptoms at all. However, arthritis becomes apparent as the pain and discomfort in joints increases. It might be especially hard to notice symptoms in cats because they usually hide the signs of diseases and weakness. However, in general, the most common symptoms of arthritis include:
- Limping. The severity of limping depends on what joint is affected. Often, limping is apparent when a pet wakes up after sleeping.
- Reduced level of energy. Pets with arthritis get tired very quickly. You may notice that your dog walks become shorter and your pet spends more time resting or sleeping.
- Changes in mood and temperament. Since arthritis causes chronic pain, a pet might become irritable. They can snap, vocalize, or even bite when handled.
- Muscle atrophy. It is a decrease in the mass of muscles. It can be either complete or partial. You may notice atrophied muscles in legs first because they can become much thinner than usual.
- Problems with moving. It may get hard for your pet to go upstairs, jump on a chair or sofa, or get out of a car.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should not wait - it is recommended to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to proceed with the treatment.
Treatment of Pet Arthritis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. Therefore, the treatment is palliative and is aimed at controlling and managing the symptoms of arthritis and joint inflammation to improve the pet's quality of life. A doctor will develop a special treatment plan for your pet, considering his age, type of arthritis, the stage of the disease, the symptoms, and the presence of any other diseases. In most cases, a vet will prescribe pain medications and nutritional supplements, suggest weight loss, and develop a controlled exercise program.
Call Springhurst Animal Hospital Today!
If you think your pet might have arthritis, do not let him suffer from severe pain that might have a negative impact on your pet's quality of life. It is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to figure out how to help your beloved four-legged family member. At Springhurst Animal Hospital in Louisville, KY, we do our best to ease the discomfort and pain caused by arthritis. Do not wait anymore - give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed and experienced vets.