It is a fact of life that your body slowly wears out as you get older. Dr. High can personally attest to this. Sometimes he will get sore from doing strenuous things like getting out of bed. He also can attest that the wearing-out process also happens to your pet. Your lab will still play fetch with you when he is ten, he just needs time to recover afterwards. Your twelve year old cat still goes on the couch, but she no longer leaps to get there.
There can be a lot of reasons for an older pet getting less active and less agile. The heart or the muscles may be getting weaker with less exercise. The pet may have less energy because they have a chronic disease.
By far, the main reason for an older pet to be less active is pain and stiffness from their bones and joints. The most common of these is arthritis…an inflamed joint. Arthritis happens when a joint is damaged by an injury or a medical condition that attacks the joints. One example of the second one is immune-mediated arthritis. The body’s own immune system targets the joints. Rheumatism in people is this kind of condition.
Whatever the reason for the condition, what pet owners care most about is that their pet is in pain or discomfort. At Morinville Veterinary Clinic, we do have several options for helping with the pain. Obviously if the joint is unstable, the pain will not go away without surgery to stabilize the joint. If the joint is stable, but painful, there are several steps for giving relief. Many of the medicines that people take for pain do not help dogs and cats. In the case of cats, some human medicines are actually deadly.
There are several products at MVC that can be given to dogs and cats on a daily basis. We often have clients start their pet on one of these medicines and say that their pet suddenly acts years younger. Most of these products taste good to the pet, or can be added to their food.
Speaking of food, there are several foods available specifically designed for dogs with arthritis. These foods have ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties and supplements of compounds used for joint repair.
In addition to all these things at Morinville Vet, we have advice on things you can do at home to make your senior pet more comfortable. Some benefit from having a sore joint iced, while others do better with a heating pad. Most pets love having a massage, and many dogs enjoy physiotherapy.
If you think your senior pet is in pain, please come talk to Dr High and the staff at Morinville Vet Clinic. We will help you find the right solution for your companion.
Written by Dr Michael High