Signs of Arthritis in Your Senior Pet

Winter is on the way and we want to make sure our senior pets are comfortable! Just like in humans, the winter weather can be especially tough on pets with arthritis. Inflamed joints are enough to put anyone in pain, but cats and dogs express their pain differently than us. Keep an eye out for these signs of arthritis in your pet.

  • Physical behavioral changes:  If you notice your pet no longer wants to climb the stairs, go for a game of fetch, get up into the car, or hop up on the bed anymore, this could be a sign that it is too painful for them to do so.  Pets with arthritis may also sleep a lot more since the joint pain tires them out.
  • Mood behavioral changes:  Pets who are in pain may become testy; they may scratch or bite when touched in response to their pain.  Quiet pets may become significantly more vocal while normally loud pets quite down.  Each pet responds to pain differently, so note if your pet’s normal behavior changes.
  • Difficulty lying down or standing up:  Your dog used to jump up out of bed to greet you out the door, but now struggles to stand up.  Your cat normally plops down on the couch next to you for a movie session, but now fidgets and is unable to get comfortable.
  • Limping or changes in gait:  You might not notice your pet limping all the time, maybe just after getting up in the morning or after a long walk.  These are still worth getting an exam from your veterinarian; dogs and cats are much more stoic than we are and are willing to endure more pain for the sake of extra play time.
  • Changes in posture:  Arthritis can affect other joints, not just those in the arms and legs.  If you notice your pet is now hunched over, or holding her neck funny, it may be a sign that arthritis is affecting the spine.  Definitely worth a call to the vet!
  • Muscular Atrophy:  Severe cases of arthritis can result in the loss of muscle tissue as pets become more lethargic and use their muscles less.  Semi-annual wellness examinations for your pet can help prevent arthritis from getting to this point.

Though these symptoms can seem grim for your pet, know that there are treatments available! From dietary changes and supplements, to weight management, cartilage boosting injections (Adequan), and acupuncture, Emerald Animal Hospital is ready to help!

As an added perk for our senior pets, we’re offering a senior discount! For the entire month of November, we’re offering $10 off senior wellness exams, $20 arthritis-screening x-rays, and $5 off all joint supplements. Here at Emerald Animal Hospital, we want pets to spend their golden years pain free. Give us a call at 216-749-7161 to set up an appointment for your senior pets; we’re looking forward to meeting them!