Pet Osteoarthritis

Dogs Suffer the Most

Arthritis just doesn’t attack humans, it attacks animals, too.

Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is a crippling condition caused by the breakdown and erosion of cartilage in the joints, and generally progresses with age.

In 2016 alone, more than 38,000 claims were filed with Nationwide pet insurance for canine osteoarthritis, accounting for more than $4.6 million in claim amounts.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms in Your Pet

A common early warning sign of osteoarthritis is a reduction in your pet’s activity level, or an aversion to certain physical activities. Other early warning signs include:

  • Difficulty getting up from a prone position
  • Difficulty climbing stairs/getting in or out of a car
  • Reduced play or exercise time
  • Lying down more than usual
  • Stiffness or lameness that disappears with exercise
  • Persistent limping or lameness

Some of these symptoms can also indicate other health issues, so it’s important to have your pet checked by a veterinarian to determine the cause of these or any other symptoms that result in a change in your pet’s temperament.

Cat X-ray

Treating Pet Osteoarthritis

There are multiple treatment options for pets with osteoarthritis. Most often, your veterinarian will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help decrease pain and inflammation. Regardless of what your veterinarian prescribes, be sure to ask about any possible side effects.

For more extreme cases of osteoarthritis, your veterinarian may recommend surgery, which can include hip and other joint replacements. Normally surgery is performed as a last resort, and can help to improve the quality of his life.

Pet owners should always pay attention to their animal’s behavior and schedule regular visits to the veterinarian. Do not self-medicate your pets for pain; not only can some medications be toxic to your pet, different pets have different reactions to treatment.