Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE -

IT is not just our bones that can strug­gle dur­ing the colder months but also those of our furry friends.

Win­ter will see many Aus­tralian pets di­ag­nosed with os­teoarthri­tis, so it is im­por­tant to look out for any warn­ing signs.

Pet In­sur­ance Aus­tralia’s Na­dia Crighton said even the slight­est change in be­hav­iour or ac­tiv­ity war­ranted a vet­eri­nary check to make sure a pet was not in pain.

“You may no­tice that your fe­line friend can no longer groom them­selves in hard to reach ar­eas like the top of the back, or they sim­ply do not like hang­ing out on the top perch of the cat scratcher any more,” Ms Crighton said.

“Hav­ing lit­ter mishaps is also a com­mon symp­tom that your pet could be suf­fer­ing from arthritic pain and in need of vet­eri­nary treat­ment.”

One of the big­gest mis­con­cep­tions about os­teoarthri­tis is age.

“We see a large num­ber of claims for pets un­der the age of eight in re­gard to arthri­tis,” Ms Crighton said.

PetSure chief vet­eri­nary of­fi­cer Dr Mag­do­line Awad said statis­tics showed 20 per cent of all adult dogs suf­fered from os­teoarthri­tis and about 80 per cent of geri­atric dogs had the con­di­tion.

“It isn’t just an ‘older dog’ is­sue. Any size dog can get os­teoarthri­tis, and any breed,” Dr Awad said.

Dr Awad said many dogs would present symp­toms be­fore they were one year old and it was vi­tal they were quickly man­aged.

“It is im­por­tant to note that treat­ment needs to be sorted quickly so that your vet can get your pet onto a man­age­ment plan that may in­clude med­i­ca­tion, sup­ple­ments and diet,” Ms Crighton said.

Win­ter chills can bring on os­teoarthri­tis in your pets.

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