Who Is Most At Risk? Understanding the Role of Breed and Age in Pet Arthritis

Arthritis is common among pets and can cause significant pain and discomfort. Pet owners need to be aware of the factors that can contribute to their furry friends being at risk, such as breed and age. In this article, we’ll cover the different types of arthritis that affect pets, their symptoms, and the roles of breed and age in developing this condition. 

We’ll also discuss other risk factors, diagnoses, and treatment options, providing valuable information to keep your pets happy and healthy.

Types of Arthritis in Pets


Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis in pets. It is caused by daily wear and tear of the joints or as a result of injury. This type of arthritis typically affects weight-bearing joints and is more frequently seen in elderly pets.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its tissues, affecting the joints and other parts of the body. This condition can damage the joint lining and result in the erosion of the bones in the joint. Pets with rheumatoid arthritis may require medication such as corticosteroids for relief.

Septic Arthritis

Septic arthritis is caused by joint infections, leading to inflammation and pain. Timely treatment is essential to prevent the spread of infection and reduce any lasting damage to the joint.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Pet Arthritis

Early detection of arthritis is crucial for managing your pet’s pain and discomfort, so being aware of the symptoms can make a significant difference. These symptoms can include:

  • Limping
  • Reduced mobility
  • Abnormal posture
  • Reduced activity
  • Abnormal grooming
  • Changes in temperament
  • Muscle atrophy

Role of Breed in Pet Arthritis

Genetic predispositions can significantly affect your pet’s susceptibility to arthritis. Certain cat breeds, such as Maine Coon, Persian, Siamese, and others, are more prone to developing conditions like hip dysplasia or patella luxation. Larger breeds like Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Alaskan Malamutes are more susceptible to hip dysplasia in dogs. 

Being aware of your pet’s breed-related predispositions can help you take preventative measures and monitor for any early signs of arthritis.

Role of Age in Pet Arthritis

Age is another crucial factor in the development of arthritis. The condition more commonly affects older and middle-aged pets. However, knowing that even younger pets can suffer from this disease is essential. Don’t dismiss changes in your pet’s behavior as mere age-related decline, as they could silently suffer from arthritis pain.

On the other hand, yearly veterinary check-ups play a vital role in detecting and managing pet arthritis at an early stage. This is especially important for kittens, with veterinary care for your kitten crucial in setting them up for a healthy and comfortable life.

Diagnosis of Pet Arthritis

A veterinarian can diagnose arthritis through a physical examination, x-rays, or, in some cases, blood and joint-fluid samples. Prompt diagnosis can lead to more effective treatment and management of your pet’s condition.

Treatment Options for Pet Arthritis

Although arthritis cannot be cured, various treatments can help relieve your pet’s pain and discomfort. These options include:

  • Exercise – Keeping your pet active can help maintain muscle strength and support joints while also reducing the risk of obesity. Consult your veterinarian for the best exercise options for your pet.
  • Alternative Treatments – Treatments like acupuncture and low-level laser therapy can help with arthritis management. One specific example is dog laser therapy in Mandeville, LA, a type of cold laser therapy that offers a non-invasive and pain-free option for managing pet arthritis.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and opioid derivatives can help manage your pet’s pain and discomfort from arthritis.
  • Diet and Dietary Supplements – Providing your pet with a balanced diet and supporting their joint health through supplements can help manage their arthritis symptoms.
  • Vet Geriatric Care – As your pet ages, it’s crucial to provide specialized care to ensure their comfort and overall well-being. Seeking veterinary advice on care for geriatric dogs can help manage arthritis and other age-related health concerns.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the role of breed and age in pet arthritis is essential for keeping your beloved companions healthy and comfortable. By being aware of the symptoms, risk factors, and potential treatments, you can ensure your pets receive the proper care they need throughout their lives. Regular veterinary visits and a proactive approach to their health care can make all the difference in managing arthritis and maintaining your pet’s quality of life.