Reduce the Impact of Arthritis In Dogs and Cats

Based on Pet Health Data

Learn More About Our Annual Pet Health Analysis

How Does Arthritis Hurt My Pet?
Arthritis is a condition in which a joint or joints become inflamed, resulting in pain and/or swelling of the joint. The pain from arthritis occurs because of the damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear, and the strain of stiff joints. Arthritis can also contribute to lameness, reduced mobility and the need for surgery.

How Common is Arthritis?
In 2014, about 1 in 30 dogs and 1 in 150 cats were diagnosed with arthritis.

Quick Tips to Prevent Arthritis
There are things you can do, however, to possibly prevent—or at least reduce—the impact of arthritis on your dog or cat.
 
  1. Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Pets that are overweight or obese are more prone to arthritis. Keeping your dog or cat at an ideal body weight and providing regular exercise are two very important things you can do for your pet. Exercising your pet regularly helps to keep joints and muscles healthy and strong. If your pet is overweight or obese, your veterinarian can recommend a therapeutic diet and exercise program to decrease your pet’s weight safely.
 
  1. Prevent and treat injuries
Old injuries are a common cause of arthritis in pets that develops over time in the injured joint. Preventing injuries may lessen the possibility that arthritis will affect your pet. Keep your pet on the leash when out of your fenced yard rather than letting it run free. It’s the best way to avoid accidents and other traumatic injuries.
 
  1. Provide a comfortable, soft place to sleep
A padded bed, and a warm dry environment for your pet can help to control discomfort.
 
  1. Veterinary care can help ease the pain of arthritis in dogs and cats
Routine exams and close attention to your pet’s physical state can help you ensure your pet isn’t experiencing pain.
 
Medications Can Help Treat Arthritis in Dogs and Cats
Antibiotics can help treat infectious causes of arthritis in pets. Arthritis can often be alleviated by your veterinarian with different medications and supplements:
 
  • Immunosuppressive drugs can be effective against autoimmune disorders.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help control the debilitating effects of degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). These medications can effectively control pain and inflammation in dogs with arthritis.
  • Chondroprotective agents, including glucosamine and chondroitin, are natural compounds that the body uses to replenish joint materials.
  • MSM (natural dietary sulfur), antioxidant vitamins and fatty acid supplements may decrease the inflammatory effects of arthritis.
  • Cortisone can be effective in the treatment of arthritis, but can have side effects with prolonged use or at high dosages.
 
The Best Treatment is Early Detection
It is important to have your pet examined by your veterinarian twice a year to properly diagnose arthritis. Early detection allows for early intervention and a better prognosis for your pet.
 
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.
 
Related Articles