Pet pain month: How to spot and support canine osteoarthritis at home

September 2, 2022

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month and the team at Molesey Vets are helping dog owners in Surrey understand how to spot signs of pain at home.

A common type of pain, particularly in older dogs, is arthritic pain. Just like in humans, a dog’s joints can stiffen and cause discomfort as they get older. Osteoarthritis affects over 80% of dogs over the age of 8 years (and some younger dogs too). Read our advice and download our guide to help you support your dog’s journey with this disease home.

Download: Adaptations for Arthritic Dogs

Signs and symptoms of arthritic pain in dogs can be difficult to see, especially when it is often subtle and intermittent. If only dogs could tell us how they feel, rather than hiding pain and just ‘carrying on’. A huge percentage are overlooked until they are at the latter stages of this debilitating disease.

Vet Darren Partridge shares some of the symptoms of Osteoarthritis in dogs:

  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Licking, biting, or overgrooming an area
  • Lameness or subtle shifting
  • Gait changes in how they walk and run
  • Struggling to get up from lying down
  • Unable to jump on and off things
  • Struggling with stairs
  • No longer wanting to play
  • Behaviour changes

Arthritis can be very painful for pets and will affect their quality of life on a daily basis. Therefore, if you notice any of these signs in your pet, Darren advises that is best to get them looked at sooner rather than later – contact us to book a pain appointment.

If the vet is concerned, we can take osteoarthritis x-rays to confirm diagnosis and then put a treatment plan in place. It is important to understand that with arthritis, often a ‘multimodal’ treatment approach is recommended as there are many aspects that need to be considered – this may include:

  • Drug therapy pain management
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Supplements
  • Diet adaptations
  • Home adaptations

Our team may recommend that one or two of these treatments are implemented initially and more built in as the disease progresses, but every patient is different and so will be their treatment programme.

At Molesey Vets, we offer pet physiotherapy with our very own Sam Buss – a Registered Veterinary Nurse and Veterinary Physiotherapist (Accredited with the IVRAP and IAAT) with a particular interest in Osteoarthritis management. Learn more about how pet physiotherapy can help dogs with painful conditions here.

There are also some simple home and exercise adaptations that can be made to improve your dog’s quality of life. The Vets at our East Molesey veterinary clinic have pooled their best advice in a downloadable guide – get this here.


Get our Dog Arthritis Home Guide

Speak to our team at Molesey Vets about the support we can offer to your pet and you – get in touch. 

You may also find the Canine Arthritis Management website helpful as it has advice and products for arthritic dogs – visit it now.

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