Advice About Senior Animal Care

Senior Animal Care

Advice About Senior Animal Care from Your Helena, MT Animal Doctors

Pets over eight years of age are considered "senior" pets and require specialized health care from your veterinarians in Helena, MT. An older dog or cat frequently suffers the same chronic pain disorders humans suffer as they age. In addition to changing nutrition needs, weight problems and dental issues, many older pets rely on veterinary medicine for pain management due to arthritis. Both dogs and cats can be diagnosed with arthritis but this joint disease is seen more often in medium to large sized dogs.

Signs of Arthritis in Pets

Arthritis is a progressive joint disease resulting from cartilage degeneration. When cartilage is unable to protect joint bones from scraping against each other, pain, inflammation and stiffness start affecting joints. Symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Reluctance to run, jump or arise from a sitting position.
  • Gait abnormalities, such as limping, favoring a limb over others
  • Constant licking of arthritic joints
  • Whimpering/meowing when sore joints are touched

Pets suffering advanced arthritis may have swelled joints that are extremely stiff and painful. Pets with chronic pain can also become unusually aggressive. Your Helena, MT veterinarian, Dr. Armstrong and Dr  Reisinger, advise pet owners to bring their dog or cat to our clinic as soon as possible if they notice symptoms of arthritis or atypical behavior stemming from poor health.

Treatment for Pet Arthritis

Pain management for arthritis in senior pets includes veterinary NSAIDS to reduce pain and inflammation, cortisone injections, a chondroprotective agent called Adequan for improving cartilage health and weight/nutrition management for overweight pets. Therapeutic laser treatments may also be prescribed to minimize pain and stiffness while stimulating the growth of new cartilage cells. With ongoing, professional care, pets with arthritis can live long, healthy lives without interfering with their quality of life.

Call Us Today

If your pet is presenting symptoms of arthritis or other chronic pain condition, call Valley Veterinary Hospital of Helena today at (406) 442-6450 to schedule an appointment with your Helena Mt veterinarian.