Arthritis management for dogs and cats

By February 24, 2016Blog, Senior pet care
Hip Dysplasia bone image

Our pets are valued members of our families and our veterinarians in Tampa all want them to be as healthy and comfortable as they can be. As our pets age, like us, many of them suffer from the discomfort of arthritic changes.  Fortunately, there are many ways to manage this painful condition.  The important thing is to recognize the subtle signs that they are uncomfortable.

Many people expect their pet to vocalize to show pain. Unfortunately, more often than not, they don’t. Often, the signs are very subtle, such as panting, stiffness, a limp which resolves after a few steps, an unwillingness to jump or an intolerance to touch in certain areas.  You are with your pet the majority of the time so be on the lookout for these often subtle changes. When you bring those signs to out Tampa veterinarian’s attention, he will perform a thorough exam looking for tender spots, checking range of motion and evaluating any muscle atrophy. The doctor may also recommend x-rays after the physical examination is complete. This helps to pinpoint the location of the problem and rule out other causes for the symptoms.  We currently are using a digital x-ray system which makes it easy to share images with specialist if necessary.

Once arthritis has been diagnosed, there are several treatment and management options our Tampa veterinarians have at their disposal. One of the most helpful for an aging pet, is shedding extra pounds. Being overweight can contribute and worsen even arthritis. Carrying the extra pounds puts an added burden on painful joints making it one of the primary points of treatment. There are also oral joint supplements that can help protect the joints, as well as injections that can increase the lubrication of the joints. In addition to these treatments, there are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories that are safe for pets, which can offer significant relief. In more severe cases, corticosteroids are used to good effect as well as pain medications to help your pets feel more comfortable.

Just as we have many options for managing the issues that can occur with aging in ourselves, there are many options for helping our pets enjoy the active, happy lives that they have grown accustomed to.  Our veterinarians in Tampa want to make sure your pets maintain a high quality of life which includes being comfortable as they grow older.  If you have any questions about this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 813-289-3925.

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