No one wants to see their pet in pain. At Bayshore Animal Hospital, joint pain in pets is a common diagnosis due to a variety of causes. Thankfully, there are more options than ever before for helping when animals are injured. Joint pain in pets can be a serious problem, and our veterinarians are here to help.
Pain in Pets
It hasn’t really been very long since humans have started to recognize that pets experience pain. Animals are very good at hiding signs of illness and discomfort as a survival mechanism and don’t often exhibit pain like humans might expect.
A painful pet may:
- Whine, howl, growl, or vocalize otherwise
- Have changes in their eating habits
- Act differently than normal
- Bite or lick
- Stop grooming or over groom certain areas
- Act protective
- Show signs of aggression
- Hide more than normal
- Posture differently
- Limp or be reluctant to move
- Be less interested in normally exciting events or things
About Joint Pain
Almost all pets will experience some type of pain at some time in their life, and joint pain is a common source especially as aging occurs.
Arthritis can occur as trauma happens to the surfaces and structures within the joint. This can be a normal wear and tear process but can also occur secondary to injuries, defects in development, infection, auto-immune disturbances, or even abnormal forces on the joint itself.
As these traumas occur, pain and inflammation ensue, resulting in osteoarthritis. While it is more common to see this type of joint pain in middle-aged to older pets, joint pain can occur in younger pets as well.
This pain is not only uncomfortable but can result in decreased mobility and quality of life.
How We Can Help
If you think your pet is in pain, don’t hesitate to make an appointment so that we can determine the source. Once we have diagnosed the problem, we can get started helping.
If your pet is diagnosed with joint pain, there are lots of things that we can do to help. Therapies may include:
Nutritional management—Carrying extra body weight can add a lot to a diseased joint. By being sure that your pet maintains a healthy body weight, you can do a lot to relieve pain and inflammation. We can help you to formulate a good nutrition plan that may incorporate oral nutraceuticals such as omega fatty acids and glucosamine that support overall joint health.
Traditional medications—Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and pain medications like gabapentin are often prescribed on a short or long-term basis to help manage pet joint pain.
Acupuncture—Pets may benefit from acupuncture, which uses strategically placed needles to help decrease pain and inflammation in the body.
Cold laser therapy—Laser therapy can be a good way to adjunctively help decrease pain and inflammation in affected joints and tissues. This therapy uses concentrated light energy to stimulate cells in an area to produce energy to actively encourage healthy tissue.
Surgery—Some causes of joint pain in pets may benefit from surgical intervention to relieve the cause.
Joint pain in pets can often be managed. It is important for us to find out what the underlying cause is, but in most cases we can determine a plan that benefits your pet. We are happy to work with you to help keep your four-legged family member comfortable when it comes to joint pain or anything else that affects them.