It is that time of the year when your pet may feel uncomfortable due to increased sensation of stiffness and pain in joints. Moreover, for pets who have osteoarthritis, this is one of the most challenging times. Also heart-breaking it is for pet parents to see their child writhing in pain, unable to move with ease because of painful joints. Pets can’t speak for themselves or share their feelings of pain or discomfort. And so, many of the cases can go undiagnosed. It is very important to pay close intention to changes in behaviour to know when it is hurting your pets. Let’s understand pain to beat pain, confidently
As a pet parent, you need to look out for signs in your pet that will alert you to take appropriate action. If you notice signs, it is important that you consult your veterinarian
- Not playing as much as usual
- Not going up or down stairs
- Not willing to jump up onto surfaces, especially cats
- Difficulty standing after lying down
- Over grooming or licking a particular area
- Making more noise than normal
- Decreased appetite
Pain could either be acute or chronic. Acute Pain is sudden and is usually due to an injury or surgery performed. Chronic Pain occurs over time, is due conditions like Osteoarthritis or Hip dysplasia, which may go undiagnosed for many months.
Osteoarthritis is a deterioration of cartilage surrounding the bones that is progressive and permanent. It is one of the most common problems in dogs with almost one in every 5 dogs having osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect dogs of all ages and breeds and is very easily overlooked in younger dogs. Apart from the normal wear and tear of joints that can happen as pets grow old, osteoarthritis may also be due to genetics (some breeds are more likely to have more cases of osteoarthritis than others) or it could be due to nutritional issues or it could be due to lifestyle issues like being over-weight / obese.
While there is no simple cure that erases osteoarthritis, several strategies make a significant positive impact on its progression and effects. The initial signs could be that the dog limps while walking or has trouble standing up. Over time, matters can get really worse.
Osteoarthritis management requires “multi-modal care”. And as a pet parent, you have lots to do to ease pain and reduce further damage to your pet’s joints.
- Learn to recognize signs of pain
- Change your pet to a healthy diet and add supplements
- Consult veterinarian for exercise requirements and put your pet on a healthy routine
- Monitor your pet’s body weight regularly
- Give complementary therapies like cold and heat pad application