For starters, watch your pet. Does your dog have a hard time getting up when he's been laying down? Does your cat take a few seconds to jump up on a chair when before she'd just leap up? Do you just think your older pet is slowing down from age? These can all be signs of arthritis. Animals often don't act painful until they've had arthritis for some time. It's up to you and your vet to determine if your pet suffers from arthritis.
So, the most important step in treating your pet's arthritis pain is to make a visit to their veterinarian. The doctor will do a physical and feel the joints to see if there are any injuries. They may want to take x-rays to see which joints have arthritis. They will do blood work to see if there are any underlying issues that may not make it safe to start arthritis medicine. If a dog or cat has increased liver or kidney enzymes then they may have to choose a different medication or decrease the dose. These blood tests will need to be repeated after the pet has been on the medicine to make sure the drug did not change anything. Then they will probably be repeated once a year to monitor their response to the drugs.
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Our pets give us lots of love. Let's return the favor and take extra special care of them as they get older and their joints get creakier. Make an appointment with your vet today if you suspect your cat or dog has arthritis. With their help you can make a plan to make your four legged kids as comfortable as possible!