Osteoarthritis is a disease that primarily affects joints. It is an
inflammatory disease that causes damage to joints, leading to cartilage
and bone changes that result in pain. Although arthritis cannot be
cured, many things can be done to minimize the pain and even slow down
the progression of the disease.
As osteoarthritis advances the
cartilage becomes soft and wears unevenly. In more advanced cases it
may wear away completely exposing the underlying bone. The course of
osteoarthritis may involve osteophyte formation (bony irregular
growths), bone remodeling, inflammation and deterioration of joint
Osteoarthritis is a common problem in older
pets. Even youngsters (juvenile osteoarthritis) and middle aged pets
can have some degree of problems, especially if an injury has occurred
to set the damage in motion.
Why does it seem like so
many older pets have this problem? Is osteoarthritis on the upswing?
Actually the answer is yes! With medical advances, pets like people now
live longer. The aging process progresses further and so more problems
Actually, osteoarthritis has
always been a problem with our pets, it was just not commonly
recognized in the early stages. Our pets tended to suffer in silence,
allowing changes to occur in the joints more rapidly. Most pet owners
thought that “Fluffy’s” slowness in getting up or favoring a leg was
just part of the aging process. Just ‘getting old’ no longer means
nothing can be done to help. That is usually the farthest from the
truth in any situation involving our pets. If something seems wrong, it
probably is wrong. Once diagnosed, joint pain often can be helped, if
not actually cured. Many pets suffer much more than they should because
the average pet owner simply doesn’t recognize the early symptoms.
Be sure to contact Ojai Pet Hospital for an evaluation if your pet shows signs of joint discomfort or stiffness.
Find out more about other common conditions affecting senior pets:
• Urine Leaking