When we think of joint pain in our beloved best friends, we often picture a dog limping and whimpering or a cat holding up their paw. However, our stoic buddies will often go to great lengths to hide their pain, and we might not see them limp until the disease has progressed so far that they are in serious pain.
Why do pets hide their pain?
Even though your furry best friends live a life of safety and comfort, they retain their instincts from a time when they had to fend for themselves. Showing pain was showing weakness. In an eat-or-be-eaten world, that was dangerous!
The first signs that your pet is in pain will likely be subtle behavioural changes.
Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative condition that impacts many older pets (and people!). As the disease progresses, the pain will force your pet to slow down, be less enthusiastic about walks, sleep more, and play less. Many owners might think these gradual changes are simply signs that their best buddy is getting older. Very often, the changes we assume are a result of our pet aging are actually signs of significant underlying pain.
Signs of Pain
Any change in behaviour warrants a discussion with your veterinary team. If your pet isn’t getting up onto the couch like they used to, doesn’t want to go as far on a walk, or seems grumpy with your family, talk to your vet. They can help you get to the bottom of the change and determine what you can do to help your best friend.
Changes in grooming can be a clue that your pet is painful. Pets will often pay special attention to a sore area. Licking a specific joint (sometimes to the point that you will see red stains from saliva) can signify that the joint is painful. We will often see cats stop grooming their back or tail base because the movement to twist and reach that spot is painful.
Although we ALL slow down as we age, pets can and should be mobile and active into their golden years. A dog wanting to turn back early on a walk or a cat who no longer gets on to their scratching post to play may be in pain.
Changes in Ability
Watch for differences in day-to-day activities. Is your pet slower going up or down the stairs? Are they struggling to get up onto a bed or favourite napping spot? Do you no longer see them do a full stretch when they wake up? Any changes in their range of movement can be a sign of pain.
Help your Vet team Help your Pet!
Many pets are a bit nervous and hesitant to move about freely. They may be tense and stiff for the exam, making it difficult for your veterinary team to evaluate their comfort level. It can be challenging to see signs of pain in the exam room.
If you have noticed changes at home, take some short videos to share with your vet team. Come to your appointment prepared with specific examples of changes you have noticed. The more information you can provide your veterinary team, the better they can help your pet!
Sooner, Rather than Later
The best time to start prevention is BEFORE there is any deterioration! We can do the most good before we see a progression of a degenerative disease, like osteoarthritis. Talk to your veterinary team and connect with us to learn how Antinol can help prevent the development of osteoarthritis.
Antinol can help increase mobility and support joint health for the life of your pet.