Medical Monday: Signs of Arthritis

Welcome to another edition of Medical Monday where we discuss veterinary medical issues experienced by pets and their families.

August Aging Pet Appreciation

August is Aging Pets Appreciation Month, and in honor of that, I would like to talk about arthritis.

Dr. Lorie Huston, DVM who writes for PetMD highlights 7 signs of arthritis in her PetMD article seen here.

1. Limping: you may notice that your pet has started limping, especially right after they stand up.


2. Difficulty Moving: Your pet may stop doing certain movements that were previously easy for them. For example, they may have trouble with stairs, or they might not want to get in or out of the car anymore.

3. Spinal Issues: Arthritis in the spine can cause issues with both of the hind legs, or even pain in their neck. Occasionally, pets might need their bowls raised off the ground in their senior years, due to arthritis in the neck.

4. Tiredness: Your pet may require more sleep, or tire more easily on walks.

5. Irritability: Have you ever noticed that some senior animals like being pet on their head, but sometimes get grumpy if you pet them along their back? This may be a sign of arthritis especially in their spine or their hips.

6. Muscle Atrophy: Once arthritis starts to take place, the muscles in those areas may start to deteriorate due to inactivity or decreased use.

7. Licking, Chewing or Biting: Often, pets will lick, chew or bite areas that are causing them pain or discomfort. You may notice hair loss or inflamed skin in those areas.

Merck/Merial also indicates excessive warmth or swelling of the joint to be a symptom of arthritis.

What areas are typically affected by arthritis?


Photo courtesy of







What should I do if I think my pet is suffering from arthritis?

Consult your veterinarian. Although arthritis can’t be cured, there are several treatments available, including NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories drugs), that can help your pet feel better, and continue to get the movement their joints need.

Can I make any small adjustments to make my dog more comfortable?


When our Lab/German Shepherd Mix Rocky became arthritic, we made a few adjustments in our house to make him more comfortable.

1) We went out and got thicker dog beds that were made of memory foam material to make sure his joints were supported while he slept.

2) We placed carpets on top of the hardwood floors and tiles to give him more stability while navigating through the house.

3) We started giving him veterinary prescribed pain medication to help with his arthritis and spinal compression.

4) In his last few months we got him a wheelchair that helped support his hind end so that he could still take his daily walk to the park.

Things I wish we did sooner:

1) I wish that we had started him on joint supplements before he developed arthritis. Rooney is currently receiving a daily Vivamune supplement as a result.

2) I wished we had thought to raise his bowls. I didn’t have as much education back then, and I wished we had thought of everything to make him more comfortable.

3) In the winter, it would have been nice to have a heated bed that would help keep his joints and muscles warm, making it easier for him to get up after sleeping.

Have you made adjustments for your senior pet’s arthritis?

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10 Comment

  1. Reply
    Sharon S.
    August 18, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I enjoy reading your Medical Monday posts.
    My 11 year-old shepherd has some pretty severe arthritis in his hind legs. He’s on meds, but he is still stiff when he first gets up in the morning. It’s tough to see our pets slow down due to this disease. Will share your Medical Monday.
    Sharon S. recently posted…French Bulldogs Wanted For UC Davis Veterinary StudyMy Profile

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Thank you for sharing Sharon! It is so difficult to see our pets age. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. Reply
    M. K. Clinton
    August 18, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Arthritis is a very painful malady that strikes many dogs and cats. I have both the boys on Osteo Chew Tabs and will continue to monitor their movements for any warning signs. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Sketchy FriendsMy Profile

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      That’s so awesome you are burnt proactive with supplements, I truly believe that it can make a difference for many pets

  3. Reply
    August 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I have often wondered if I should start Storm on supplements before arthritis kicks in. She is not a senior yet but I am noticing just a couple changes with her. After reading the small adjustments, I think I will start her on some. 🙂
    Jenny recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Kind ofMy Profile

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      Jenny, I think it helps make a difference, just like with humans we take supplements to help our physical abilities, please let me know if you need any suggestions on some good brands!

  4. Reply
    August 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Poppy has just turned 15 and we noticed a few months ago that she was having trouble getting up the front and back door steps, and also when we out on our morning walk, she is noticeably slower on the way back home. We have put her on joint supplements, but I wish I’d started when she was younger; we live and learn I suppose.
    She has nice soft beds all over the house, which she loves, and we have raised her food and water bowls. I suppose for a 15 year old, she’s not doing to bad but we will do everything to make her life more comfortable.
    I love your Medical Monday posts!
    Barb recently posted…Weekly Photo Challenge: SilhouetteMy Profile

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you Barb! Sounds like you are doing a great job since she is still nice and mobile at 15! It’s a difficult thing to watch them age and know there is only so much we can do. Thank you so much for reading my Monday posts!

  5. Reply
    August 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    It’s remarkable how well this info about dogs transfers to rabbits as well. My elder bunny is on joint supplements, daily NSAIDs and has a memory foam bed (which is heated in the winter). I also cut down the side of her litter box so she could hop in and out with ease.

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Thea, thank you SOOO much for sharing!! Adjustments for other small pets are just as important, especially with rabbits and their longevity. How old is your bunny?

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