Information and Treatment About Arthritis in Cats and Dogs

May 24, 2022

In this post, we explore some of the the different signs of arthritis seen in cats and dogs, as well as ways to manage the condition.

It's that time of year, when the joints start to ache and many older cats and dogs will start to slow down. Arthritis can effect dogs and cats at any age, depending on underlying joint conditions.

Arthritis information for cats:

Cats can be a bit more surreptitious in their signs here are some clues that are commonly related to arthritis;

  • Changes in litterbox use (outside litterbox)
  • Changes in sleep pattern.
  • Play less or have reduced interactions with their owners.
  • Reluctance to jump up and down.
  • Avoiding walking stairs.
  • Vocalisation.
  • Obvious signs of discomfort, limping less active.

Arthritis information for dogs:

Dogs can be more overt in their signs, here are some indicators that you might see.

  • Difficulty to getting up when lying down.
  • Hesitancy jumping into the car or onto the bed/couch.
  • Intermittent lameness.
  • Stiffness.
  • Reluctance to exercise or wanting to go home just after starting a walk.
  • Soreness to touch.
  • Behaviour changes (reduced interactions with owners, playing less)
  • Pacing and poor sleep habits.

Treatment of arthritis in cats and dogs:

There are certain environmental modifications that can be useful to assist you pet in moving around. It can dramatically improve your pets quality of life by allowing them to continue their normal behaviour patterns without causing stress or exacerbating their symptoms.

  • Providing a ramp into the car for dogs or a small step up to furniture for small dogs and cats.
  • Non slip matts or yoga matts on slippery flooring i.e. floor boards or tiles.
  • Reduce the height of the litter tray for cats.
  • Keep your pets nails short and fur between pads trimmed to aid in stability on slippery surfaces.
  • Using raised food and water bowel minimising the need to bend their neck downwards.
  • Orthopaedic dog and cat beds that are low to the ground that have orthopaedic support.

Depending on the degree of discomfort, there may be a variety of options available for use in improving comfort levels. We are not just limited to pharmaceuticals. There are now some very effective neutricuticals (or more natural medications) available, that can help improve your animals comfort level with fewer side effects.

Managing your pets weight is one of the most important factors in managing arthritis in cats and dogs, managing your pets daily intake of food and choosing a premium brand that is specific for arthritis can be very beneficial and easy and can be a good place to start in aiding your pet with arthritis.

Maintaining a moderately active lifestyle will also help with your pets weight and is important in keeping your pets arthritic joints moving to maintain muscle mass, increase blood flow to the joint, and increase the movement of synovial fluid through the joint. Instead of a long walk once a day with your dog or cat (if your cat is used to walking on lead) try small frequent walks as long as your dog or cat tolerates it. Swimming is another excellent way to minimise pressure on joints for dogs while still activating their muscles and improving blood flow. Frequent swimming sessions may help to keep your dog active especially if your dog not tolerating walks. You can try feather chasing with your cat or new balls and toys with your cat as long as you keep you keep them from jumping and sprinting.

If you're concerned that your pet may have arthritis and would like to talk further, visit our services page on arthritis assistance for pets in Hobart or give us a call to arrange an appointment on 0480 331 429

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