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It’s important to us to make sure that older pets are comfortable and enjoy good quality of life as they age. One common problem seen in older dogs and cats is osteoarthritis.

When we speak with owners about arthritis and chronic joint pain, we often hear things like “he’s not in pain, he never cries out” or “she’s limping but she’s not in any pain.” Chronic pain is a lot more difficult to spot than that. Think about the last time you were in pain. Chances are, you weren’t screaming or crying (I hope!), but that doesn’t mean you weren’t in pain…

Some signs of chronic joint pain in cats and dogs:

  • A stiff gait on first getting up.
  • Reduced ability to run or jump – cats might struggle to jump to favourite perching spots, or dogs to jump in the car.
  • Behavioural changes – they may seem grumpy or even aggressive
  • Cats may groom themselves less. Dogs may lick over painful joints, causing a brown staining on the coat.
  • Reduced muscle mass in the hind limbs due to reduced stride length

Your vet will check for these signs at an annual health check. For older pets, joining our health plan can be a good idea. As well as vaccines and parasite control, it includes a health check every 6 months. Detecting signs of pain earlier means better quality of life for your pet!

Article written by Dr Lucy Fleming