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Warning Signs of Arthritis in Pets

Arthritis is one of the more common health conditions to affect dogs and cats as they get older. It occurs when cartilage erodes between joints, allowing bones to painfully rub against one another and cause inflammation. If your dog or cat is entering her senior years, you should be on the lookout for signs of arthritis pain. Below, a Greenfield veterinarian tells you what to watch for.

Cats

A cat that seems to be limping or favoring one limb over another may have arthritis. In many cases, cat owners report their cats going to the bathroom outside of their litter box, which they never used to do. This is often because it is too painful for the animal to jump into their litter box.

Some cats might pay extra attention to grooming one particular area. This might be a sign of concentrated arthritis pain. Contact your vet if your cat is displaying any behavior out of the ordinary.

Dogs

Dogs may not display quite as specific symptoms as cats, such as the litter box scenario, but they also will probably limp or favor a certain limb. Your dog might not be as keen to run up the stairs or chase squirrels in the yard; she might prefer resting to taking a walk; she may seem to lose interest in things she once enjoyed. An older dog that seems to move slower doesn’t automatically have arthritis, but if her movements are more measured and she seems to be in pain occasionally, arthritis is a very likely cause.

Genetic Predisposition

Dog owners should be aware that some large-breed animals are more likely to have a genetic predisposition to arthritis. Your Greenfield veterinarian can tell you if your breed of dog is likely to develop this painful joint condition.

Owners of younger pets, take note—it can be very helpful to feed your dog or cat a healthy, balanced diet from an early age as a way of preventing arthritis. If your pet’s joints and bones develop normally throughout life, arthritis and joint pain will be less likely to occur in the animal’s golden years. Ask your veterinarian for more information on proper pet diets and more ways to recognize and combat arthritis.

 

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