Arthritis is probably as common in aged dogs as it is in people. Most people wait for some overt sign that their pet is in pain. But the signs are usually more subtle. In the dog, they usually start as difficulty rising especially after rest. After these pets “warm up”, the stiffness seems to go away. As the disease progresses, the stiffness becomes more obvious and lasts longer.

Arthritis also affects cats. But since cats hide their discomfort better than dogs, it is probably under-diagnosed. One of the more common signs in cats is loss of litter box training. Climbing over the sides of the box becomes painful so the cat chooses to urinate elsewhere. You may also notice a decreased ability to jump up onto things.

Nutritional supplements can be helpful for both dogs and cats, especially if started early in the course of the disease. As the disease progresses, many pets require the use of medication. NSAIDS are quite commonly used to decrease the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. There are several choices for dogs but, unfortunately, there is no NSAID approved for long-term use in the cat.

One treatment that is becoming more popular is laser therapy. The light from the laser increases blood flow to the joint, decreases inflammation and pain and provides a warming sensation that most pets find pleasant.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call Hudson Veterinary Hospital at (330)650-2929.

Dr. Mark

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