Those who suffer from arthritis know the winter months can make the condition all the more painful. Arthritis is not only a debilitating disease in humans, is can also impact your pet’s quality of life, with symptoms often developing subtly and over a long period of time.
Source: New York Daily News
This incredible photo went viral last year after the story behind it was revealed. John Unger was shown holding his 19 year old dog, Schoep, in a Wisconsin lake. Schoep slept in his owners arms, the water soothing his painful, arthritic joints. The powerful image showed an incredible bond between Unger and his beloved dog, and people all across the world were moved by Unger’s efforts to ease Schoep’s pain in his final years.
Our pets are tough and they don’t like to complain – unfortunately this means they usually can’t tell us when they’re hurting! Many pets won’t cry, bark or yelp when experiencing arthritic pain, leading many families to think their pet’s slow movement and tiredness is just a result of old age. Thankfully, there are many treatment options to help your pet lead a long and pain free life, so proper and early diagnosis is essential.
Keep an eye out for these symptoms in your pet :
- Difficulty sitting down or getting up
- Spinal issues – hunched back or lameness in hind legs
- Licking, chewing or biting painful areas
- Hesitation or difficulty jumping up onto furniture/into the car/off your lap
- Stiffness and excessive stretching, especially in the morning
- Ungraceful landing when jumping down
- Slow movement
Source: Dog Training Central
While our pets do become slower and less agile as they age, it is important to check with your vet to find out if your furry friend is suffering from arthritis – if they are, your vet can do a lot to manage pain and slow down the progression of the disease. The condition often goes undiagnosed, leaving our pets to suffer in silence. Joint damage can’t be reversed, but the pain can be treated successfully, especially with early diagnosis. Treatments range from heat therapy to massage, acupuncture, diet and prescription medications.
What can I do?
If you suspect your pet is suffering from arthritis, consult with your vet and develop a treatment plan if necessary. It’s also a good idea to take preventative measures and no matter what age or stage of life. If your pet is insured with Petsecure and you have added Wellness Care, $30 per year for Health Check or Vaccinations is included in the cover.