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Recognising signs of arthritis

Monday, October 31, 2016

Arthritis is inflammation of the joints, and tell tell signs can sometimes be very subtle, particularly in cats and rabbits.

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

We’ve put together a list of the more common symptoms associated with arthritic pain:

  • Limping – the most obvious symptom of pain in a joint is if your pet is struggling to put weight on a particular leg. This can be more apparent after long periods of rest.

  • Excessive grooming or chewing of painful areas – if your pet seems to be focussing on a specific area or joint, this could be a sign that they are in pain. Rabbits, however, when suffering with arthritis may be less likely to groom themselves, resulting in an unkempt coat and mucky bottom.

  • Difficulty moving –struggling to climb the stairs or getting in and out of the car could be a sign of arthritis in dogs. Cats may be less likely to jump up on to high surfaces.

  • Tiredness and excessive rest – this is a particularly subtle sign of arthritis. When uncomfortable or sore, your pet may sleep or rest a lot more than usual. Dogs may start to slow down on their walks or prefer shorter journeys.

  • Muscle atrophy – your pet’s muscles may look like they are ‘wasting away’, or one leg may look thinner than the other.

  • Irritability – your pet’s behaviour may suddenly become more irritable due to being in pain. This could include aggression or seeking solitude from others.

If you think your pet may be suffering from arthritis, or showing any of the above symptoms, call your usual Highcroft surgery to book an appointment with a vet.

If your pet is diagnosed with arthritis, we offer lots of support through our Arthritis Club, which is FREE to join. Your pet will benefit from regular checks, discounts on medication and supplements, free annual blood and urine tests, and much more. Speak to your surgery for details.


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