Is It Old Age or Pet Arthritis?

Determining if your cat has arthritis can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Cats don’t think to complain when they are sore – they just keep trying to make us happy! Yet, when a dog is limping or stiff getting up, this is a clear sign that they are experiencing arthritis pain. More subtle clues are easier to miss and are often blamed on ‘old age’ or ‘slowing down’.

Signs of arthritis in dogs

  • not wanting to play as much
  • not following you around like they used to
  • being slower on walks
  • sleeping more
  • hesitation to jump onto furniture or into vehicles.

Signs of arthritis in cats

  • sleeping more
  • not jumping up as high
  • or jumping up onto a lower object to reach a higher perch
  • cat’s litterbox activity can also be a big clue. Not squatting down as low, missing the litterbox, or not using the litterbox at all – are often signs of pain when positioning themselves in the litterbox.

It can be hard to watch your pet struggle with arthritis. There are a variety of medications that are safe, make them happier and more comfortable. Your pet deserves to be comfortable in their day to day life! The staff at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital are passionate about this and happy to help.

Three main classes of medications used to treat arthritis

  • Neutraceuticals. This includes supplements like glucosamine, omega 3s, green lipped mussel powder, and cartrophen. All work slightly different so many pets are on one or all of these medications. Neutraceuticals have the fewest side effects and are a staple in arthritis treatment. Ask the staff to recommend a brand as the neutraceutical industry is poorly regulated and many products do not stand up to their claims.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). This includes medications like Metacam, Rimadyl, and Deramaxx. These drugs are similar to the effects that you would feel after taking an Advil, Tylenol, or Aspirin (please never give these to your pets as they are toxic!) These medications dull the pain, and often resolve it completely. These can be used as frequently as daily, but many people only use them when their pet is having a sore day. NSAIDs can be harder on the body, but routine monitoring by your veterinarian and a diligent owner helps to prevent these issues from happening.
  • Pain medications. These are stronger than NSAIDs and are often used when other medications just aren’t enough or your pet has a concurrent medical condition that would make other medications unsafe. These can be sedating in some pets at certain dosages.

If you think your pet may be experiencing signs of arthritis, talk the staff at Lomsnes Veterinary Hospital about addressing this and helping your friend enjoy a better quality of life!

By Hayley Biederbeck, Veterinarian