During May we are trying to make everyone aware of joint and mobility problems. Obviously as your pet gets older they start to slow down because yes they are getting older, however, is this because there is actually an underlying problem? It is very rare for pets to be brought to the vet because they are just “slowing down” unless owners notice an obvious lameness.
Have you noticed any of the following in your pet?
- Reduction in mobility – is your dog or cat struggling to jump up onto the furniture or just refuses to jump up anymore? Do they seem to struggle getting up after they’ve been sitting or lying down?
- Reduction in activity – Does your dog not want to go out for as long as they used to, or seem slower when out? Does your cat not want to go out as much? Does your pet seem to be sleeping more than usual?
- Changes in grooming habits – has your dog started to chew or lick at certain joints and make them bald? Does your cat seem scurfy or matted and unable to groom themselves anymore?
- Changes in temperament – does your pet suddenly react by crying/growling when being picked up or handled or even when trying to get themselves up? Do they react when you touch a certain area?
If you answered yes to majority of these questions, then it is worth bringing your pet in for a check-up by one of our vets as they may already be suffering for arthritic changes in the joints and bones.
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joint starts to deteriorate. The cartilage acts as a ‘shock absorber’ and takes the impact when walking/running/jumping and every other general exercise. However, if this cartilage starts to disappear there is no absorber which means every day movements can start to become painful.
Unfortunately, once these changes have occurred there is no going back – but we can prescribe medications to manage the pain and prevent the damage from getting any worse.
It is now recommended to start animals on treatments as they hit their senior years in order to prevent these changes occurring. This can be done by giving additional supplements through foods or nutraceuticals (kind of like our vitamins). There are a wide variety of diets that all contain joint supplements to help aid, or you can purchase veterinary joint supplements straight over the counter which we regularly keep in stock.
If you have any worries or concerns regarding your elderly pet, please book in for our Senior Clinics or speak to a member of our crew for some advice on mobility preventative care.
There’s still life in the old dog (or cat) yet!
Let us know if you have any other mobility questions!!