Joint pain and arthritis are some of the most common issues veterinarians see in pets. What’s most surprising is that it’s not just something that affects aging pets. Joint pain can affect animals both young and old. But, the signs often go unnoticed by the untrained eye.
No matter how much we love our pets or how well we think we know them, they often suffer in silence. For many, it’s not until they’ve become immobile that the thought even crosses our minds that something is or has been wrong. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the signs of joint pain so that you can get your pet the help they need to live comfortably and happily as they continue to age. Here’s what you need to keep an eye out for:
- Limping – When such conditions as arthritis set it, it takes the joints longer to warm up. Because of this, pets may start to lose mobility when joint pain sets in. You may even start to notice a limp in their step, especially upon waking and those first few steps.
- Lethargic Movement – Pets suffering from joint pain often become reluctant to move. Their energy and activity levels may start to decrease due to the strain or simply the anticipation of pain on their joints. It may take them longer to get up after laying down, they may slow down during walks, become disinterested in playtime, stop running and jumping, etc.
- Loss of Appetite – Inactivity can also result in a loss of appetite. The pain may become too much for them to even have the desire to get up and walk to their food. Unfortunately, this, along with a loss in desire to remain active, can result in the onset of depression.
- Hunching – The inflammation from joint pain can cause spinal issues like a sore neck, a hunched back, or frail hind legs. All of these things affect your pets posture and their natural gate.
- Aggression – A change in behavior is not uncommon in pets suffering from joint conditions. Pain can affect their overall mood making them irritable and aggressive. Some pets react with scratching and biting, a response to the stimulation or anticipation of stimulation to the affected areas.
- Increased Sleep – Pets in pain don’t want to move around much, so they’ll often spend much more of their days resting and sleeping. One symptom associated with this in particular includes weight gain from lack of movement. This, however, only adds to the issue at hand because excess weight just adds more pressure on their already aching, frail joints.
Recognizing the signs of joint pain is the first step toward seeking a diagnosis and treatment for your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to assess your pets’ unique situation and help you find the best plan of action, which may include dietary and lifestyle changes, to help alleviate their pain and get them back on track toward a more comfortable life by your side.