Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Keep Your Pet Moving This Winter


No matter what time of year, your pet needs exercise and their joints can take a pounding as they run, jump and play. For some pets, at different times in their lives, these activities can cause joint pain. This can be especially true during the cold winter months, although it is important to keep them moving to keep their joints lubricated. The pain may stem from injury, normal wear and tear, genetic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, cancer, or arthritis. 


Often the signs your pet is in pain may be very subtle and easily missed. It is important to try to observe your pet’s behavior regularly, as early intervention can be the key to keeping them moving and pain-free.


Signs to Watch for:


Limping- it perhaps is the most common and often the first sign your pet is in pain. You may see your pet hesitate to sit down and/or get up favoring one or more limbs.

Reluctance to Move- Pets will often hesitate to engage in activities if they feel pain, even if the activity is one in which they once enjoyed.  They may not want to climb up to their favorite spot or climb up the stairs.

Increased Fatigue- Pain can zap your pet’s energy and they may become tired more easily.

Licking, Chewing, and/or Biting a Specific Area-  Pets may often lick and chew  creating skin irritation in an area that hurts them.  This is their way to attempt to “heal” the area and get some relief from pain.

Increased Irritability- A pet may not be able to tolerate being touched in a certain area. This sensitivity (due to the pain) can cause them (even if usually very easy-going) to become more aggressive to people and other pets.  

Please be sure to bring your pet to the veterinarian if your pet is displaying any of these signs to determine the cause.


What to do:

Depending upon the test results, your veterinarian will advise you on the best course of action. Sometimes surgical repair is the best option. For older pets, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are usually prescribed. These medications should be used sparingly, however, as over time, they can impact liver and kidney function.