Arthritis In Pets

Arthritis is defined as a medical condition characterized by inflammation of a joint. Even though it mostly affects middle-aged and senior 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, also known as degenerative joint disease. Other types are septic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis caused by infections.

Osteoarthritis is a prevalent form of arthritis affecting pets. This condition involves the gradual deterioration of joint cartilage, leading to discomfort and reduced mobility. 

Septic arthritis results from joint infections, and rheumatoid arthritis involves the immune system mistakenly attacking the joints. Identifying the specific type is crucial for tailoring effective treatment plans and providing targeted care for pets dealing with arthritis.

a dog with bandage

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 defined as a decrease in the muscle mass. It can be either complete or partial. You may notice atrophied muscles in the 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 treatment.

Treatment of Arthritis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. Therefore, treatment is palliative and will aim to control and manage the symptoms of arthritis and joint inflammation to improve the pet’s quality of life. A veterinarian will develop a special treatment plan for your pet, considering their age, type of arthritis, the stage of the disease, symptoms, and the presence of any other diseases. In most cases, a vet will prescribe pain medications and nutritional supplements, possibly 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 them suffer from severe pain that might hinder their quality of life. It is essential to see a veterinarian as soon as possible to figure out how to help your beloved 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 any longer – give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed and experienced veterinarians.