Dog and cat in the grassOur pets can’t tell us about aches and pain but we know osteoarthritis is very common.

As a matter of fact, studies tell us that 90% of the cats over the age of 12 and 60% of all dogs have evidence of arthritis on X-rays.

To diagnose arthritis in our pets, we look at many factors.

First, we look at your pet’s risk factors. This includes breed, activity, age and current and ideal weight.

Second, we ask the pet’s owner questions about activity, ability to exercise and play, lameness (including lameness or stiffness after exercise), difficulty rising or sitting, and changes in how much the pet wants to interact with the family.

Third, one of our veterinarians examines the pet to see if they are overweight and looks for muscle loss, joint stiffness, pain, gait abnormalities, and the ability to sit and stand. If it's determined that your pet requires x-rays, we can take them here and provide you with results right away.

From there, we grade the pet and the joints to come up with a stage of arthritis:

• Stage 0 – No signs and no risk factors for arthritis
• Stage 1 – No signs but there are risk factors for arthritis – like being overweight
• Stage 2 – Mild signs of arthritis
• Stage 3 – Moderate signs of arthritis
• Stage 4 – Severe signs of arthritis

Once we have diagnosed arthritis we come up with an individual plan for each pet that may include:

• Change in diet
• Non-steroidal pain medication
• Joint supplements, like Phycox, for dogs and Dasuquin for cats
Adequan injections
Laser therapy
• Daily low impact exercise like walking and swimming
• Environmental changes to the home
• Equipment for the pet, like boots with tread
- Find boots at Ruffwear or consider a special harness from a site like Help Em Up
• Surgical options, like total hip replacement

Unfortunately, we can’t cure arthritis but we help many pets feel better and have improved mobility while living with arthritis.

If you think your pet has arthritis, you are probably right. Please call for an appointment; we want to help.