Your pet should not suffer in silence

Old sad chocolate Labrador in front of a white background

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common diseases affecting older cats and dogs, but pets as young as one can be affected by OA.  It is a painful, disabling, incurable, and progressive deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints.  Over time, the disease moves beyond the original site of pain to affect the whole body as your pet continually compensates elsewhere for the pain, resulting in more pain.  Unfortunately, pets are masters at disguising pain; appearing healthy to the untrained eye.  Here are the symptoms and signs you should look for so your pet will not be suffering in silence.  

Early signs of the disease are very subtle or near invisible because your pet is four-limbed and can easily shift weight, change posture, and cope.  More noticeable signs do not present themselves until the disease has significantly progressed.  You may begin to notice that your pet walks, runs, or lies down a bit differently than normal; postural changes that give a hunched appearance; trouble walking up or down stairs and hesitating before jumping into the car or on the couch; sleeping more and being less social; unwillingness to go for walks; behavioral changes such as being depressed, irritable, snapping or pulling away at being petted.  Should the disease continue untreated beyond these signs, your pet will eventually be unable to cope and begin to limp or even struggle to stand and support his or her own weight.

While OA can be a debilitating disease, it affects every pet differently and to different degrees of severity.  Thankfully, there are many treatment options available for your pet that include both traditional and alternative options.  Diagnosing OA early will help to ensure your pet maintains a pain-free life.


Dr. Susan Bonilla is the owner of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, offering traditional and complementary treatment options.  She is certified in acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy.  You can reach her at 704-256-7576 or e-mail at Hello@PassionatePaws.Vet

Grooming Tip of the Week

Groomers may only appear to be concerned with your pet’s coat and skin but they are valuable allies in your pet’s overall health.  Groomers are able to see and feel many medical concerns that are hidden behind all the hair and fur — lumps and bumps, ear infections, eye irritations, anal gland problems, and hidden pain and discomfort.  If a groomer tells you about a specific medical concern they discovered, take them seriously, and contact your veterinarian for a follow-up.

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