Stiff in the morning?
Problems climbing stairs?
No energy anymore?
Many older animals develop arthritis and it can be very debilitating. However there is a lot that owners can do to help and relieve their pet of some, if not all of the pain associated with arthritis. Arthritis literally means an inflammation of the joints. In some animals it can be traced back to an initiating cause such as an injury to the joint or a deformity within it, although the arthritis may only become apparent years later. However, in most cases it is something that just appears with old age. In either case the disease itself is progressive and will continue in a predictable way, despite the initiating cause.
If changes occur to a joint so that it no longer moves correctly, the subsequent forces will cause wear and tear to the cartilage and other structures within the joint. This in turn leads to inflammation and pain. However inflammation will cause further changes to the joint and so a vicious cycle is started. Hence arthritis is a chronic disease which causes gradual degeneration of the joint over time.
Unfortunately this degeneration is irreversible and it is not possible to cure an animal of arthritis once acquired. It can, however, be controlled and with careful treatment and management pets with arthritis may live with little or no pain.