Does Your Pet Have Arthritis?

Arthritis doesn’t just affect humans; millions of pets in America also suffer from this debilitating condition. And, like us humans, arthritis in pets is generally seen the most throughout the senior population.  Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between joints wears thin, causing the bones to grind against each other. This can lead to issues such as chronic pain, joint stiffness, and difficulty walking and moving.

Watch out for potential signs of arthritis, such as limping, difficulty with stairs, and loss of interest in exercise. If any of these are noted, make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet’s difficulty.  If arthritis is the culprit, there are many things that can be done to minimize discomfort and help energize your pet!

1. Minimize exposure to cold weather for dogs and outdoor cats. The cold weather makes joints even stiffer, causing more arthritic pain. Give her a warm and comfy bed to ease pressure on the joints, and bundle up your small and thin-furred dog when going outside.

2. Aquatherapy is a great method of exercise for the arthritic pet. In warm weather, look into local, dog-friendly lakes or even your own pool. Swimming is a no-impact exercise that will keep up your pet’s health without aggravating his/her arthritis.

3. Talk to your veterinarian about pain medications and joint supplements. Glucosamine supplements are strongly recommended for the protection and maintenance of healthy joints in senior pets, and there are a wide variety of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories that may be helpful, depending on your pet’s diagnosis.

4. Laser therapy is an excellent and comfortable way to relieve your pet’s joint discomfort. The safe laser penetrates all the way down to the cellular level, stimulating cell division and promoting healing.  Ask your veterinarian about laser therapy for arthritis, or call Plymouth Veterinary Hospital with any questions about the treatment.

5. Watch their weight! The heavier Fluffy is, the more stress there is on her aching joints. Stop in with your pet any time for a weight check and nutrition discussion and be sure to check the feeding directions on the side of your pet’s food to prevent overfeeding.

6. There are many natural treatments out there that might be effective as well. Talk to your veterinarian for recommendations on what would be best for your furry friend.

Before you start your canine or feline friend on any kind of treatments for any issues that are out of the ordinary, visit your veterinarian for an exam and firm diagnosis.  This will ensure your pet has the proper care and treatments from the get-go, speeding their recovery. And as the weather grows colder, remember to keep arthritic pets out of the cold for long periods of time  Provide warm and snuggly area with lots of bedding to keep cozy on long winter nights, just like we do for ourselves!  Happy tails, all!

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