Early Arthritis Detection to Protect Your Dog or Cat

Based on Pet Health Data

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Early Arthritis Detection to Protect Your Pet
Based on information from The State of Pet Health by Banfield’s Applied Research and Knowledge Team

Can Dogs and Cats Get Arthritis? The Answer is “Yes.”
Arthritis, or inflammation of the joints, affects dogs and cats just as it does humans. There are several types of arthritis—rheumatoid, degenerative (osteoarthritis) and infectious arthritis—and each of these has a different cause.
 
As a pet owner, it’s helpful to know the signs, the top susceptible breeds, how arthritis is detected and what you can do with the assistance of your veterinarian to help you and your dog or cat deal effectively with this common condition.
 
An arthritic joint can cause immense pain, especially in the morning and in cold weather. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in dogs and cats. It results from the deterioration or loss of the cartilage that acts as a protective cushion between bones, particularly in weight-bearing joints.
 
Signs of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Signs of arthritis include
  • Limping
  • Pain
  • Decrease in activity level
  • Difficulty rising
  • An altered gait (bunny hopping, stiff legs, etc.)
  • Difficulty jumping and/or climbing stairs
  • Irritability or aggressiveness when touched
  • Swollen joints
  • Muscle loss
If left untreated, arthritis can cause irreversible joint damage, resulting in pain and restricting your pet’s ability to move or sit comfortably.
 
Prevalence of Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
According to Banfield's Applied Research and Knowledge team (BARK), in 2014, 16 percent of geriatric dogs were diagnosed with arthritis, and nearly one in three (30 percent) geriatric large and giant breed dogs were diagnosed with arthritis.
 
Breeds Most Susceptible to Arthritis

While arthritis affects pets of all ages, the average age of dogs diagnosed with arthritis is 9, and the average age of cats diagnosed with arthritis is 12.
 
Detect Arthritis Early with Vet Examination
Through a comprehensive examination, your veterinarian can detect and treat arthritis before it becomes too painful for your pet. This may include blood tests, X-rays and joint fluid analysis to help determine the cause and severity of the arthritis. If your pet doesn’t receive regular exams, the arthritis may already be advanced, so if you notice any signs it is wise to see your veterinarian immediately.
 
Have Questions?
If you have further questions about arthritis including examinations for early detection and treatment, please contact your neighborhood veterinarian or refer to our Arthritis Handout for additional information.
 
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