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Osteoarthritis: When
Age is Not to Blame

Our research team identified a growing population of pets developing osteoarthritis. Here are the findings to help you stay one step ahead of your pet’s health.
Hero Dog Hero Dog
What is osteoarthritis?
It’s a form of arthritis caused by inflammation and damage to joint tissue, which can affect both dogs and cats. The cause isn’t always known, but it can be the result of things like genetics, injury and abnormalities in a joint (i.e. hip dysplasia). The most commonly affected joints include hips, knees and elbows.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that will get worse over time, which can be very painful for pets and make it difficult for them to get around comfortably. While it’s more common in older pets, it can develop at any age.
Osteo Stats
Prevalence of osteoarthritis in the Banfield population
Osteo Stats
Osteoarthritis has been on the rise over the past 10 years
Osteo Stats
Pets 10 years of age and older affected by osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a heavy issue
Did you know osteoarthritis and excess weight are linked? Extra pounds can put your dog or cat on a faster path to chronic pain and behavioral changes, so preventing excess weight is crucial to reducing your pet’s risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Connecting the dots
Joint discomfort from osteoarthritis can keep pets from being active, leading them to gain weight, which can worsen the joint condition—a vicious cycle!
Connecting the Dots
1 out of 3 cats & dogs in the U.S. is overweight
The percentage of overweight and obese pets has reached epidemic levels, so diseases commonly associated with excess weight—like osteoarthritis—are on the rise.
One Out of Three
52% of Dogs
of dogs with osteoarthritis are also overweight or obese
41% of Cats
of cats with osteoarthritis are also overweight or obese
Overweight or
obese dogs
2.3x more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis
DOGS WITH
OSTEOARTHRITIS
1.7x more likely to be overweight or obese
Cats with
osteoarthritis
1.2x more likely to be overweight or obese
Insights into your dog’s behavior
We know that your pet’s behavior can offer extraordinary, yet often hidden, insights into their wellbeing. So, we partnered with Mars Petcare to launch the Pet Insight Project, a research effort that analyzes behavior data for tens of thousands of Banfield patients wearing a Whistle activity monitor. Monitoring this data has provided us with invaluable insight into the impact of osteoarthritis and excess weight on dogs’ behavior.
30%
less active
German Shepherds (3–10 years of age) with osteoarthritis are 25–30% less active than those without it.
20%
less active
Overweight or obese dogs are up to 20% less active than dogs at a healthy weight.
10%
less active
Adult dogs under the age of 10 that become overweight are 10% less active than those that maintain a healthy weight
Be Patient
It may take months to reach a goal weight. Be patient and work closely with your veterinarian to routinely monitor and adjust your pet’s weight-loss plan. Follow the link to learn more about pet obesity and ways to help your pet lose that excess weight.
Learn About Obesity
Common myths
When it comes to osteoarthritis and excess weight, there are quite a few myths out there. See the most common below, and be sure to consult with your veterinarian for solutions that work for you and your pet.
Myth
Osteo Icon 01
My pet isn’t old enough to have osteoarthritis
See Fact
Fact
While osteoarthritis is more common in older pets, it can develop in a pet at any age.
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 02
My older pet is slowing down, but he’s fine. That’s normal for his age.
See Fact
Fact
Behavior changes such as being less active or sensitive to touch can be signs of inflammation or pain due to osteoarthritis.
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 03
My pet is on a high-quality diet, so we don’t need a specialized diet for mobility or weight loss.
See Fact
Fact
While this may be true for some pets, many pets will benefit from specially formulated diets to manage osteoarthritis.
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 01
My pet can’t be overweight—I’m following the feeding instructions on the bag!
See Fact
Fact
The feeding information featured on pet food bags are only general guidelines and may not be appropriate for every pet.
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 02
My pet can’t be overweight—she looks like other pets I see around the neighborhood!
See Fact
Fact
Sadly, this may mean most of your neighbors’ pets are overweight, too. The proportion of overweight and obese pets is steadily increasing, making it the “new normal.”
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 03
My pet may be overweight, but there’s nothing else wrong with her. She doesn’t need to lose weight.
See Fact
Fact
Weight loss, especially early on, reduces your pet’s risk—not only for osteoarthritis—but other serious conditions, too.
See Myth
Myth
Osteo Icon 03
I can’t put my pet on a diet. He’s such a good boy, and I love giving him treats. He deserves them!
See Fact
Fact
Your pet does deserve the very best, and there are other ways to reward him—trips to the park, toys and belly rubs work great!
See Myth
Partner with Your Banfield Veterinarian
Partner with your veterinarian if you think your pet may have osteoarthritis.