Surgery, she explains, is sometimes recommended, especially if a hip or other joint is severely affected.
"Drugs are often prescribed, and ‘joint diets’ have also become available for dogs and cats in recent years,” Kerwin explains. “Physical rehabilitation can be a very effective treatment in controlling signs associated with arthritis.”
As with humans, weather changes – especially colder weather – can often be felt in bones and joints, and these changes can affect your pet, Kerwin adds.
"Probably the most frequent question veterinarians get asked about arthritis in pets is, 'Should I continue to exercise my pet?' There's no easy answer," Kerwin believes.
"Low-impact exercise, like a walk, is better than no exercise at all,” Kerwin adds, “Swimming is an ideal exercise for dogs if they will do it, and even cats can swim in a water treadmill. That's why it's best to consult with a veterinarian to get the treatment plans best suited for your pet. Pet arthritis is not a death sentence for your animal, but owners need to be aware that the animal cannot do certain things."
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.