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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.
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Decode the signs of osteoarthritis
Pets can’t speak for themselves or share their feelings of pain and discomfort, so cases of osteoarthritis can go undiagnosed. That’s why it’s important to monitor your pet for signs and pay close attention to even small changes in behavior.
Dogs
Dogs
Cats
Cats
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Sitting with a back leg loosely to the side
Also known as side sit or lazy sit, dogs with osteoarthritis pain sit this way to shift their weight from their painful joint(s).
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Reluctance or inability to go up or down steps
Your dog may sit at the bottom or top of the steps or not use them as much as he used to.
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Decreased or lost interest in play
Many owners think older dogs lose interest in play, when in reality, it may be due to osteoarthritis affecting their comfort and quality of life.
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Reluctance to be pet or touched
In addition to reacting to a painful joint being touched, dogs with osteoarthritis can become more sensitive to touch in other parts of their bodies.
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Difficulty rising, stiffness or limping
Obvious especially after resting or sleeping, osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness that may become less apparent as your dog moves around.
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Walking slower or lagging behind on walks
Discomfort due to osteoarthritis pain can affect your dog’s ability to walk the same distance at the same speed that you used to do together.
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Poor hair coat, dandruff, mats or scruff
Cats experiencing pain may not be able to reach all parts of their body to groom completely.
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Going to the bathroom in inappropriate places
Your cat may go right outside the litterbox, because it may be too high for her to get into or she may be unable to sufficiently squat once in the box.
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Inability to get up or down from elevated objects
Cats with osteoarthritis may require an additional step in order to enjoy their favorite perch like they used to.
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Reduced interaction with people & other pets
Cats that are in pain may hide or not welcome petting like they used to.
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Reluctance or difficulty going up & down stairs
Cats with osteoarthritis may not go up or down stairs as much as they used to.
It’s a joint effort
What you may think is normal “old age” behavior could actually be osteoarthritis, so partner with your veterinarian. If osteoarthritis is suspected, your veterinarian may recommend these products and services.
Click each item to learn more
Physical
Extended physical examination
Includes an orthopedic and/or neurologic assessment of your pet to determine whether pain is due to osteoarthritis or another condition.
Diagnostic Test
Diagnostic tests
Assess your pet’s underlying health to develop a safe and customized treatment plan.
X-Rays
X-rays
Allow your veterinarian to evaluate bone and joint tissue for signs of arthritis or other abnormalities.
Anti-inflammatory medications
Anti-inflammatory medications
Help reduce inflammation in the affected joint(s).
Pain Medications
Pain medications
Help improve your pet’s comfort level
Supplments
Supplements
Support your pet’s overall joint health
Weight-management
Weight-management plan
Includes a combination of veterinary therapeutic diet and exercise.
Pet Activity
Pet activity monitor
Understand how active your pet is, set daily goals and appreciate the progress your pet has made once treatment begins.
Other Services
Other services
Complementary services such as acupuncture or physical therapy to improve your pet’s comfort and mobility.
There is no cure. But there is treatment.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that will get worse over time, and unfortunately, there is no cure. But interventions may slow down the disease’s progression and ensure your pet remains as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. Partner with your veterinarian to develop an individualized plan for you and your pet.
Ongoing Monitoring
Ongoing monitoring
Routine diagnostic tests and other forms of monitoring may be needed to ensure your pet’s treatment plan continues to be safe and effective.
Environmental Fixes
Enviromental fixes
You can help your pet stay more comfortable through simple fixes, such as ramps, non-slip surfaces or low-sided litter pans.
Ongoing Monitoring
Special considerations
Depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis, your pet may require special considerations, such as changes in activity or exercise routines.
Partner with Your Banfield Veterinarian
Partner with your veterinarian if you think your pet may have osteoarthritis.