It is perfectly normal for our dogs and cats to slow down a bit as they age. But when they begin having difficulty walking or even lowering their heads to eat, they may be exhibiting signs of arthritis, a disease that can be debilitating but one that can be managed.
Pets who suffer from arthritis generally walk stiffly, limp or favor certain legs. They may experience pain when touched in specific areas or be hesitate to jump, run or climb stairs. Cats with arthritis may sometimes have difficulty grooming themselves; thus ratted fur can be an indication of arthritis.
While it can be painful, arthritis can also be managed. One method to treat is by having one of our veterinarians prescribe medications to help ease pets’ discomfort. There are some risks associated with long-term use of these medications, however, so pet owners should talk to a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to make sure they understand how to administer the medications and what problems to look for.
In addition to medications, emphasis should be placed on having the pet perform low-level exercise. This can reduce the pain from arthritis, but be cautious as to allowing too little or too much movement or exercise. Be sure to consult with a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian regarding the amount of exercise that would be ideal and which type would work best for a particular pet. Additionally, pet’s that are overweight may be able to lose some pounds leading to reduced pain and reducing the risks of diabetes and heart disease. Some arthritic pets may even benefit from physical therapy, such as swimming or walking on underwater treadmills.
Along with a pain management plan from one of our veterinarians, a pet owner can comfort their pets using soft bedding, gentle play, massages, and by grooming areas that are hard for pets to reach. If necessary, provide access ramps to make it easier for pets to get up or down from higher places.
If you suspect that your pet may be showing signs of arthritis- be sure to contact a Lange Animal Clinic veterinarian to be examined.
For over 45 years, Lange Animal Clinic has provided veterinary services in Pekin, IL and the surrounding areas for over three family generations. Our expert staff of Veterinarians, Veterinary Technicians, and Veterinary Assistants are trained to ensure the best quality medical care for your beloved pets-whether it be as a routine medical examination to more complicated surgical procedures. We are a small companion animal clinic providing services for dogs, cats, and exotic pets.
Dr. Colleen O’Rourke, owner and senior Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, takes great pride in making certain that every patient’s experience is handled with the utmost care, compassion, and economically in the best interests of our clients. Visit us at www.langeanimal.com.