Osteoarthritis - is your pet starting to suffer in the cold?

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Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition of one or more joints. Damage within the joint results in inflammation that causes decreased mobility and pain. As the signs of arthritis can be exacerbated by cold weather, many people start to notice changes in their pets due to arthritis as the weather begins to cool down. Signs to watch out for that may indicate that your pet has debilitating arthritis pain include

  • Lameness
  • Stiffness
  • Reluctance to play or exercise (more time lazing around and being less active)
  • Inability to jump up or down as used to be able when younger
  • Difficulty getting up from bed, particularly after long periods of rest or in the mornings.

Some animals may seem to become more cranky and irritated, plus cats may not want to groom themselves as much.

If you are at all worried that your pet may be suffering from osteoarthritis please make an appointment to see a vet. Arthritis can usually be diagnosed by examination, clinical history and x-rays.

There are many treatments available to help your pet be more comfortable if they are suffering from arthritis to get them happy to be more active again. There are medications available to help protect joints and manage pain. In the early stages treatments are generally aimed at slowing the progression of arthritis whilst maintaining comfort. We can also discuss with you dietary and environmental factors that can help your pet become more active again. Being as lean as possible can significantly reduce the stress on joints and improve comfort dramatically, Weight loss in overweight pets is probably the most important part of managing arthritis. For pets at risk of debilitating arthritis as they age (large breed dogs or dogs with joint dysplasia) you can be proactive and make sure your pet stays a healthy weight to help slow the development of arthritis and its associated pain.

For help with losing weight please come in and ask our friendly nurses for a free weigh in and body size check to develop a weight control or weightloss plan for your pet.  

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