Common Signs of Arthritis

All pet owners know, it is hard to think about our beloved furry friends getting older. However, it is inevitable that they do age. As they get older, there are many things we, as pet owners, need to look for. One of the most common ailments that we see in older pet is arthritis. Depending on the circumstances, we even see younger pets that have the start of early arthritis. Arthritis affects your pet’s joints and causes pain and discomfort. Here are five common signs that your pet may be suffering from arthritis.

Difficulty with movement: One of the most common signs that your pet may have arthritis is that they have problems with their movement. You may notice your pets have stopped doing activities that previously were no problem for them. For example, your dog may not be able to climb stairs as easily, run and play or get in and out of your vehicle. For your cats, you may notice that they are no longer able to jump onto counters, furniture, perches or other high places that they previously liked to go. You may also see some limping or favoring of paws. Or you may notice that it takes your pet a little longer to get going in the morning or after a nap. Sometimes they need to walk around a bit to loosen up their limbs. They may also appear very stiff and uncomfortable to you.

Fatigue: You may notice that your pets are simply slowing down as they get older. Long walks and runs may be tough for them and tire them out. You may see them napping more often and for longer periods of time.

Irritability: You may see a change in your pet’s demeanor if they are suffering from arthritis. Since they are probably in a fair amount of discomfort or pain, they may growl or whimper if they are touched in a way that causes them more distress. In extreme cases, you might even have a normally mild mannered pet who will snap or bite if they are hurting too much.

Excessive grooming or licking: Sometimes an animal will lick, bite or even chew at a particularly painful area. This can cause hair loss and irritation at the site. When suffering from arthritis, pets will often over groom the area, trying to make it feel better and possibly causing more problems.

Muscle and spinal issues: One of the most serious problems associated with arthritis is when it infiltrates the joints to the point where it affects the muscles or spine. Because your pet may reduce their activities, you might notice them losing weight and muscle in their legs. Or you might notice that they have adopted a hunched position to their body due to their spine being affected. At times you may even see a loss of control over their hindquarters.

Though all of these symptoms can be very scary and difficult for you and your pets, there is also good news. When your pet is diagnosed correctly, there are treatments that can help with arthritis. In our next article, we will discuss what things you can do to help your pet when they have arthritis. If you have concerns that your pet may be in a lot of pain, please contact your veterinarian at once.

By on February 20th, 2014 in Pet Care