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  • Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Arthritis in your pet


Arthritis in dogs is one of the most common conditions seen in veterinary practice and can affect one in five dogs over the age of one. Yes, that’s right, your dog does not need to be elderly to suffer the painful effects of arthritis.

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. The smooth protective cartilage covering the joint surfaces begins to break down and that’s when we see the symptoms of pain and decreased range of motion in our pet's joints. Often pain associated with arthritis can worsen in cold weather so you may notice symptoms of the condition in your own dog during the winter months.

The key to correct diagnosis and management of arthritis is to speak to our vets and visit the clinic regularly for wellness health checks. The vet can do a thorough examination on your pet and take a full history which should highlight any areas of concern.

A multimodal approach is the best way to combat the effects of arthritis including diet modifications, medications, supplements, physical therapy, weight management and exercise. Medications such as anti-inflammatories or arthritis injections may be warranted to control the pain and these can be prescription by your vet. Supplements and some foods can also assist in decreasing pain.

If your pet is carrying a bit of excess weight this can put added stress on already painful joints and even speed up the deterioration of the arthritic changes. It is important to keep your pet trim and to ensure an appropriate exercise regime is maintained.

The correct exercise is very important in the management of arthritis. Loss of strength and mobility is a vicious circle for our older pets, so the use of physical rehabilitation is very important in reducing pain and improving function. However the type, duration and frequency of exercise will vary depending on each pet and the severity of their symptoms so ensure you discuss this with your pet's vet.

Environmental modifications may include things such as raising your pet's bowls so as they do not need to bend to eat and drink, or ensuring they are not having to walk on slippery surfaces if they have decreased strength. Easy accessible beds away from draughts are another consideration.


To find out more and discuss your pet, make an appointment today by calling the clinic on 02 4238875 or Book Online.

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