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Fulham Gardens
(08) 8355 5475
(08) 8272 3400
Black Forest
(08) 8351 6066

Pets and their people


Arthritis is one of the most common health problems in pets, affecting many senior and geriatric cats and dogs, yet only a fraction of these animals have their disease diagnosed, let alone well-managed. Unfortunately it is often perceived as slowing down in his/her old age. But it is actually pain, not age, causing the changes in these animals. And we know you would never want your beloved pet to suffer unnecessary pain. It is our mission to provide the best care possible for your pet, so they can live a long, well, and happy life with you.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the term commonly used to describe degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Simply put it means"inflamed joints". There are other kinds of arthritis (such as rheumatoid or infectious), but they are much less common. Osteoarthritis leads to thickened tissue around the joint, destruction of the cushiony cartilage, bony change, poor joint fluid, pain, and decreased function. Anyone with a bad knee can tell you what this means in real life.

The x-ray below shows a healthy hip on the left, and a badly arthritic hip on the right.You can see the bony change on the x-ray, but you can't appreciate all the soft tissue, cartilage, and joint fluid changes.

Arthritic Hip Xray

Read more about arthritis from our friends at VetzInsight.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

From mild behavioural changes to a complete inability to walk, the symptoms of arthritis vary widely and may not be what you would expect. Animals have the same pain sensors humans have, but they express their pain differently. We need to learn their body language of pain. The most commonly noticed sign is a stiffness after rest or a reluctance to do normal activity. Animals limp when pain gets bad, and only cry or whine when they are in real agony, so don’t be fooled. Their subtle signs of pain are easy to read once you know what to look for.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

Our veterinarians will often suspect arthritis when they get a good medical history, coupled with a hands-on physical exam. However, some problems can mimic arthritis, such as pain in the connective tissue (myofascial pain), nerve damage, and even tumours.

If we want to maximise our chances of being safe and effective in formulating a treatment plan then confirming the presence of arthritis, and ruling out other problems, x-rays are recommended. If x-rays confirm arthritis, they also tell us which joints are affected, how badly they are affected, and what treatment options are likely to be most effective.

As many osteoarthritis patients are considered ‘geriatric’ and may have several complicating health problems. A check of urine and blood samples help us to identify and monitor underlying kidney and liver problems is recommended. This helps minimize the risk that the medications used impact organ function. In fact, we recommend annual lab testing for our senior and geriatric patients because of this; like arthritis- the sooner we find a problem, often the more we can do about it to ensure your pet lives a long and happy life.

Can arthritis be treated?

ABSOLUTELY! Some owners are afraid to take their aging pets to the vet, fearing the worst. In reality, there is much that can be done to not only decrease the pain your pet feels, but also slow down the arthritic change. The sooner we start, the better the results. And the options have multiplied in recent years, so there is generally an option for every patient, client, and budget. So fear not! Get your pet checked out by our veterinary team, and we will work with you to maximize your pet’s comfort and function.

Treatment generally includes one or more of the following

At Pets and Their People, we are striving for a "Pain Free" practice. We would be delighted to help you maximise your pets quality of life while living with arthritis. Please call your preferred clinic to make an appointment.

Contact Us

Fulham Gardens Vet Surgery

441 Tapleys Hill Road, (Cnr Moore Rd)
Fulham Gardens, SA, 5024

Phone: (08) 8355 5475

Mon-Fri: 8am-9pm
Sat: 8am-5pm
Sun: 10am-4pm

Unley Vet Surgery

36 Unley Road
Unley, SA, 5061

Phone: (08) 8272 3400

Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 8am-9pm
Sun: 8am-1pm

Black Forest Vet Surgery

647 South Road
Black Forest, SA, 5035

Phone: (08) 8351 6066

Mon-Fri: 8am-7pm
Sat: 8am-9pm
Sun: 8am-1pm

All Surgeries are closed on public holidays.





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