October 2018: Vet's Advice
Is your pet slowing down? Old age and how to give them their bounce back!
As we all age things aren’t as easy as they used to be, whether that’s walking long distances, climbing a flight of stairs, or bending over to pick something up. The same is true for your pet!
Is my pet old?
Due to breed variations there is no true fixed age that a pet is ‘old’.
Your pet is considered to be entering ‘old age’ if they are over 7 years old for dogs and 10 years old for cats.
As animals age, their joints wear and can become sore and inflamed. ‘Arthritis’ is a latin word formed of ‘Arthro-’ which translates as ‘joint’ and ‘-itis’ which translates to ‘inflammation’. Furthermore, ‘Arthritis’ means ‘inflamed joints’, a painful condition. There can be many causes of arthritis, such as; injuries, infections or joint abnormalities present from birth, or it can be simply be due to old age.
It can be difficult to notice signs of age-related arthritis in our furry companions as it is a slow progressive condition. Due to the gradual nature it is not always something we recognise, so here are some things to look out for!
Some signs of arthritis are more obvious:
• Difficulty going up or down stairs or jumping onto beds (or surfaces for cats)
• Slowing down on walks and reluctance to do longer walks
• An obvious limp or abnormal gait
• Vocalisation/whining when getting up or moving
• Weight gain (due to inactivity)
Some more subtle signs of arthritis include:
• Sleeping more or spending more time in a sedentary state
• Behavioural changes, such as being more irritable or grumpy and less sociable/more withdrawn
• Muscle loss, particularly in the back legs
• Long nails where they are not worn down (particularly in cats these can become ingrown)
• Difficulty going to the toilet
• Licking or chewing over areas of arthritic pain
• Lying on cold floors, pacing, restlessness and unable to settle into a comfortable position
What can be done?
Don’t worry, with advances in Veterinary medicines and technology there are lots of ways to ease your pets arthritic pain and manage the condition.
• Medications (anti-inflammatories and pain relief)
• Joint supplements
• Weight loss (keeping your pet slim puts less stress on their joints)
• Regular routine exercise (20-30 minutes maximum a day, try not to have rest days)
• Massage, hydrotherapy or laser therapy
If you think your pet may be suffering from arthritis then please don’t hesitate to contact the practice and book an appointment with one of our vets who can discuss the most suitable management and treatment strategies for you and your pet so that they can have the best quality of life in their later years.
Vets4Pets, Emersons Green. Tel: 0117 9109352.