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Arthritis in pets

Many of our pets lead very active lives in their early years and thankfully take normal joint function for granted. However arthritis (or degenerative joint disease) is a relatively common problem in older pets.

In the majority of cases, arthritis occurs secondary to a lifetime of wear and tear. It may also occur as a result of trauma to a joint, or due to a malformation of the joint (for example hip dysplasia).

The signs of arthritic change are usually fairly obvious - difficulty in getting to their feet after rest, problems getting in and out of cars, and possibly a reluctance to go on walks. Affected joints usually appear stiff, swollen and painful.

Arthritis is characterised by a breakdown of the articular cartilage lining the ends of the bones in the joint and formation of secondary new bone around the joint. On an x-ray the new bone can often be clearly seen.

Although arthritis cannot usually be cured, new forms of medication, together with exercise and weight control, can make a difference to the lives of affected pets.

If you are concerned that your pet is showing any of the signs described above, please contact your branch surgery or book an appointment for a check up at one of our free Nurse Clinics.

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