Just like us, our pets commonly suffer from arthritis as they age. Clinical signs can vary from pet to pet but some of the most common early signs are often overlooked. In dogs, stiffness after rest, slowness in rising, reluctance to jump into the car or on the sofa are some of the most common signs. In our cats it can be more difficult to assess if they are struggling with arthritis pain as an older cat will sleep most of the majority of the day. In some cats arthritis can manifest as inappropriate urination or defecation if the litter box rim is too high, lack of activity, sleeping on lower surfaces or downstairs when this has not been the preferred sleeping spots in the past.
The most important thing you can do to both prevent and treat arthritis is to keep you pet at a healthy weight and enourage regular exercise. But even the most fit of furry companions can suffer from arthitic pain. The good news is there are a number of very effective and save treatment options available.
Joint supplements are readily available over the counter for both dogs and cats but not all supplements are of equal quality. I recommend using a brand name supplement such as Glycoflex, Synovi G3, or Flexadin as these companies have conducted studies on the effectiveness of their products. As arthritis progresses further measures may be needed such as injectable joint medications like Adequan or Pentosan that are very safe for both dogs and cats. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can be an effective and valuable tool in improving mobility and decreasing pain when used appropriately. It is important to have your dogs kidney and liver values assessed prior to starting any of these medications.
We all want our pets to live as long and as comfortably as possible. With routine preventative health care, good nutrition, regular exercise and appopriate medications this is a goal we can help you and your pet attain.