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Written by Suzanna Talevski

With the colder months now settling in, pet owners need to be on the lookout for signs of arthritis in their pets.

 According to vets at Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic, the number of pets being treated for conditions associated with arthritis is on the increase.

They say they are seeing an increase in both cats and dogs who were struggling to cope with the onset of winter and expected that number to increase as the colder temperatures set in.

 Already they are seeing an average of two arthritic pets per day, if not more and they expect that number may increase if people aren’t aware of the warning signs. Some of these come in with the issues of arthritis, others are picked up during their health checks.

 How-ever a lesser known fact is that cats can get arthritis too but our feline companions that have the condition can be much harder to spot as they exhibit signs of pain more subtly.

If your cat is asking to be picked up more and more it could be a sign that their joints aren’t working as effectively when they’re cold. It might also take more steps when negotiating a jump and generally sleeping more. Worse cases will be limping/stiff, some even have a reduced appetite.

 It is a good idea to pay attention to what they’re like when getting up from a big sleep, what they’re like after a long walk if it’s a dog, if they’re hesitating to jump up on the couch/bed etc. Any changes should be discussed with your vet.

 As winter rolls on, pet owners are also being encouraged to keep an eye out for any sniffles as often it can be a mild upper respiratory infection however it’s good to rule out something more sinister.

 Pneumonia if left untreated or if diagnosed too late in the course of the infection, can be life threatening as the animal may lose their ability to breath, and the infection can overwhelm their organs leading to sepsis.

 Vets at Frank Samways are also asking those that live in rural or large properties to be aware that products like Anti-Freeze designed to warm a car’s engine can be fatal for animals if ingested.

 Although not common in suburbia, people should know that it has a very sweet taste so dogs can lick it off garage floors and the like but it’s extremely toxic.

Break box:

Symptoms of dog arthritis:

  • Stiffness or difficulty getting up.
  • Lethargy.
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or play.
  • Weight gain.
  • Irritability or changes in behavior.
  • Pain when petted or touched.
  • Difficulty posturing to urinate or defecate, or having accidents in the house.

Symptoms of cat arthritis:

  • Reduced movement
  • Inability or reluctance to get up or down from furniture including sleeping areas. This may mean they will sleep somewhere lower down or in a different location to previously.
  • Changes in grooming behaviour
  • Less tolerant to being patted, held or brushed, especially over the hind quarters.
  • Changes in activity level
  • Reluctance to go outside/ play/ hunt and explore.
  • Reluctance to use a scratching post which can result in their nails becoming long quite quickly.

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