An overview of osteoarthritis pain
Pain in pets is a subject that is very important to pet owners and to us as their veterinarians. Pain affects your pet’s quality of life and overall well being. Osteoarthritis (arthritis) is the most common cause of pain that we see in our pets. Arthritis is caused by damage to the cartilage in joints, exposing bone to further damage. Inflammation then occurs and damage to cartilage and bone progresses. Other conditions, such as hip dysplasia, cause instability in joints. The body then builds more bone in an effort to stabilize them. This new bone rubs on cartilage and bone that is already present, resulting in pain and inflammation. Physical examination gives us indications that arthritis may be present; however, radiographs (x-rays) are the only way to definitively diagnose arthritis.
Pets with arthritis may show signs as subtle as being stiff in the mornings, or being slow to rise. However, their pain can be severe enough to be debilitating as well. Other common signs of pain are limping (even if mild), aggression, painful when touched, withdrawal from family members or normal activity, and inappetance. Fortunately, several treatment options are available for pain control and keeping your best friend comfortable. Although medications may be needed, there are several non-drug therapies as well. The best treatment often involves a combination of the following methods.
No pet should have to suffer from pain. As members of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, our goal is to keep your pet as happy and as pain free as possible.