Mobility and osteoarthrisis
Painful displacement and limited activities
Your furry friend was always so happy to run and play whenever they got the chance? but perhaps they're not as spry as they used to be? You've noticed that your dog no longer greets you at the door. Your cat no longer jumps at the window. You could try to convince yourself that they are simply getting a little older and wiser. But there may be a physical reason for this decline in their activity: osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic and degenerative condition of the joints. If your pet is, indeed, suffering from osteoarthritis, their movements will become increasingly difficult and painful. You must know that osteoarthritis doesn't only affect older cats and dogs. Young animals can also suffer from the disease.
If your vet diagnoses osteoarthritis, they will also tell you that, for the moment, there isn't a cure. However, your vet will be able to help you with ways to reduce discomfort and improve mobility. Of course, it also makes sense to act quickly, as soon as you see the signs, so that your pet can enjoy the best quality of life possible. What are the signs? Here are a few:
- your pet sleeps and lays about more frequently;
- they look for new, unusual places to sleep (soft and warm or hard and cold);
- they struggle to get up when lying down and they appear to limp;
- they don't seem to have any appetite and so, lose weight;
- their joints are swollen and hot to the touch; they may lick or even bite the painful joint;
- they don't want to be touched.
If it turns out that your pet does have osteoarthritis, your vet can propose treatment that will slow the progression of the disease and efficiently relieve pain. Treatment is comprised of three main elements: weight control, exercise and administering non-steroid based anti-inflammatory medication. Your vet may also suggest complementary treatments like physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, and functional foods (nutriceuticals), such as glucosamine and chondroitin.
Don't hesitate to consult your family veterinarian so that they can arrive at the right diagnosis and provide you with advice that's right for your pet's condition.
Cats are agile, athletic and flexible but that does not prevent them from suffering from joint problems. In fact, according to recent studies, 80% of cats aged 12 and over suffer from osteoarthritis. Yet this problem often goes unnoticed. The cat being a very stoic animal, the lack of mobility often passes for normal old age. How many times do we hear during consultation "ah it moves less but it is old is normal". Except it is not normal and your animal, although he does not speak openly, suffers in silence. What to do then? Detecting the signs of pain is the first step:
- He is overweight or declawed (100% of these cats will have osteoarthritis)
- He isolates himself and does not want to go outside anymore
- His habits have changed
- He no longer jumps on the sofa bed or counter
- Unclean episodes often connected to litter that is too far
- He eats less
- He is constipated
- He does not groom himself anymore