Arthritis in Pets

“Dr. Rannals, I think my pet’s joints hurt. He can’t jump up on the bed like he used to, and he struggles getting up after his nap.” Arthritis in pets is being seen more and more as we see our pets living longer thanks to good care. We see arthritis (or more accurately, osteoarthritis) in our pet patients nearly every day. Thankfully, we do have some meds that can help with the pain and inflammation.

Dogs and cats of any age can get arthritis, but obviously, it is more a disease in older patients. In large dogs, hip dysplasia (which is a special form of arthritis) can be seen as early as one year of age. But the norm is more in middle years and especially over 10 years old. With larger dogs, here in Whitehouse and East Texas, we tend to see it more in hips, back and shoulders, although any joint can have arthritic changes. Owners may notice their pet rises more slowly from sleep, often throwing their weight towards their front limbs until they can get their back end up from the laying position. Or they may notice their faithful lab may not be able to jump into the car or pickup anymore and has to be helped in. Sometimes they just note their activity level has greatly diminished since the joint pain makes them not want to move as much.

Arthritis in cats is something the veterinary community is still learning about. We know now that arthritis in cats over 12 years of age is very common. Owners may note that their cat doesn’t want to jump up on the counter or bed as much as before.

Well, the bad news is that we cannot cure arthritis just as we cannot cure it in people. But the good news is we do have several treatment options that can be used. Doggy NSAIDs like Rimadyl or Metacam can greatly reduce inflammation and pain and get your Fido moving a lot better. Dasuquin with MSM has proven useful as an adjunct therapy and is very safe. And Actinol is a newer treatment that shows much promise.

Treatments in cats is more limited due to their liver function being more finicky, but there are some options to help Felix to feel better as well.

In nearly every case, periodic blood work and/or x-rays are needed to ensure that liver and kidney function remain strong so they can eliminate the meds.

If you have questions, call us at the Rannals Small Animal Hospital in Whitehouse Texas at 903-839-7235.