Osteoarthritis is a common condition we see and treat at Allambie Vet. Approximately 25 percent of dogs are diagnosed with arthritis and as many as 60 percent of dogs have signs of arthritis on radiographs. Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is a degenerative, progressive, and irreversible condition of the joints. Osteoarthritis can affect any age, sex, and breed of dog and cat.
The signs of osteoarthritis vary widely from very discreet to very severe. Some dogs and cats show no lameness, some become unwilling to exercise, and some have a hard time walking. A common sign in dogs is stiffness or lameness after waking. Cats often show no signs unless they are severe but can involve being less active/ sleeping more.
Recognising arthritis in dogs can be difficult in many cases because the condition can progress slowly and dogs don’t complain about their aching joints. The consequences of osteoarthritis include joint pain and, over time, a potential loss of joint movement, strength, and fitness.
There are three key aspects:
Managing your pet’s weight is important. Excess weight increases stress on the joints and muscles. If your pet is overweight, weight loss is recommended. Daily, low impact activities such as walking and swimming, will not only help your pet with losing weight but can also improve joint mobility, muscle mass and exercise intolerance.
The activity of dogs with osteoarthritis should be adapted to their needs. Exercise is important to keep dogs fit and strong, but strenuous activities that trigger lameness and flare-ups should be avoided.
Pain management of arthritis includes anti-inflammatory medications and more traditional pain relief medications.
With a good management plan and monitoring, arthritis can be carefully managed in dogs and cats, resulting in a good quality of life that you and your pet will appreciate.
Book an appointment with one of our senior vets to discuss or review an arthritis management plan.
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