Arthritis is common in middle age or older pets. It is much more common in dogs than in cats. Common symptoms are stiffness and difficulty rising (especially after rest or exercise), limping on the affected leg(s), reduced activity, and increased irritability.
Diagnosis is by history and symptoms, but sometimes x-rays are needed to rule-out other causes. Arthritic changes are not always apparent on x-rays.
Treatment options include NSAID pain relievers (such as Rimadyl, Previcox, and Deramaxx), joint fluid and cartilage support (Adequan, glucosamine/chondrotin), and a new high-fatty acid diet- j/d from Hill’s. Another important treatment is weight loss. Obesity will increase the likelihood of joint disease (as well as ligament ruptures) and will significantly worsen the discomfort associated with it.
Do not give your pets human pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen! These can be toxic to cats and dogs.