Geelong veterinary surgeon treating arthritis in pets

Just like us, our dogs and cats can suffer the debilitating and painful condition of arthritis, and it has equally devastating effects on our pets.

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs and cats

Limping and difficulty moving: Your once-active dog now finds walking and running much more difficult, especially in the mornings and during colder weather. You might notice it is harder for them to get into the car or go up and down stairs. You might notice your cat no longer jumping up onto high surfaces such as a bench top or window ledge.

Tiredness and lethargy: Have you noticed morning walks take longer or that your pet dog or cat spends more time resting?

Irritable mood and behaviours: Sometimes animals suffering pain will snap or bite their owner when petted. This is a sure sign your pet is in pain.

Loss of muscle tone:If your animal is favouring one leg, the result will be muscle atrophy or dying off of muscle tissue due to lack of use.

Arthritis treatment in dogs and cats

The most important things to remember with dogs and cats suffering from arthritis are:

Weight management – Overweight animals put more strain and pressure on their joints. Obesity is one of the first things that must be addressed regarding your pet. It can be difficult to achieve the required weight loss, however as the owner you are the one with control over what your pet eats.

Gentle exercise – Even if a dog is in pain, there are types of low-impact exercises that will provide a good range of motion and help build muscle. Walking on a leash, swimming or walking in water, and walking up and down stairs are all great low-impact exercises. In comparison, uncontrolled exercise such as chasing a ball or jumping to catch a frisbee can place undue pressure on ligaments and joints that will actually lead to more pain and faster degeneration of the joints. It is vital to ensure your dog exercises every day – don’t just leave it until the weekends. Also, try to build in a warming-up period to warm the muscles.

Keeping your pet warm – The onset of cold weather is often when owners first notice signs of arthritis in their pet. Keeping pets warm will also keep them more comfortable and allow them  to move about with lower levels of pain and discomfort. Consider jumpers or leg warmers to help keep joints warm.

Supplements – Additional supplements in a pet’s diet can assist with the promotion of cartilage and joint health. Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two most widely used and successful supplements for both animals and humans in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Complementary therapies – Massage can help relax your pet’s muscles and get joints more mobile.

Injections to treat cat and dog arthritis – To treat arthritis, Dr Brown might also recommend injections for dogs. Cats affected by arthritis can also receive these injections. Administered to the animal in a series of injections, this medication helps stabilise joint membranes, promote the formation of new cartilage and to thicken the joint fluid which acts as a much more effective lubricant. These arthritis injections for dogs and cats can provide much-needed pain relief for extended periods of time.

Pharmaceuticals such as arthritis injections for dogs and cats can provide real relief from debilitating pain.

Many of these treatments may be applied or suggested where an animal has reached old age and is struggling to move with ease. Dr Brown will be able to advise you on the best course of action to help your older dog or cat with any difficulties they have with movement or any age-related illness.

It is also important to ensure your pet’s vaccinations are kept up-to-date in their older years. Like puppies and kittens, older animals are more susceptible to illness and disease. Mobile Vet Geelong administers vaccinations for your dog or cat and can carry out a comprehensive health check.