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Cat and Dog Arthritis Symptoms

Arthritis is a general term for abnormal changes that occur within a joint, resulting in irreparable damage. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common complaint, particularly among middle-aged and older dogs and cats. Arthritis causes inflammation within the joint, making movement difficult, but also causes the cartilage to deteriorate and the joint itself to lose lubrication.

Physical symptoms

Although the disease of arthritis occurs only in the joints, it can result in quite a wide range of physical symptoms. The most direct symptom is that the joint will be painful to the touch, and your pet may avoid being handled or yelp. The inflammation in the joint will create stiffness, which will cause them problems particularly when getting up or lying down. Most pets with arthritis will be slower in their movements overall and may have trouble running or jumping. If your pet begins to favor a particular leg due to pain, they will eventually develop muscle atrophy in that limb. If the arthritis is located within any of the joints of the spine, the animal may adopt a hunched posture. These symptoms may be subtle, but should not be mistaken for general signs of old age and should be discussed with your vet.

Behavioral symptoms

If your fur baby is suffering from the constant joint pain of arthritis, it makes sense that their mood will change for the worse. For dogs, you may find they are less excited to see you and no longer follow you around the house. Both dogs and cats may become grumpy and even aggressive towards their owners and other animals. You may notice them spending more time sleeping and less time playing, and may seem somewhat depressed. Cats may change their grooming habits, either neglecting their routine due to the pain of movement or overgrooming the area around the swollen joint, resulting in hair loss or hot spots. Cats also may start neglecting proper housetraining, as getting in and out of the litter box causes them pain.

Treating symptoms

Treating arthritis symptoms involves two parts, reducing the inflammation in the joints, and alleviating the pain caused by the disease. There are both natural and medicated options available, which can be used in combination with a holistic approach to the disease. Steroids are used in acute cases to reduce inflammation in the short term, while non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a similar effect but can be used for longer periods of time. Non-medicated supplements such as glucosamine promote overall joint health and can lubricate the joints, reducing pain. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and gentle exercise will help reduce the pressure on the joints and alleviate pain.

Cat and Dog Arthritis Symptoms

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