405 S. Main Street

Yerington NV 89447


Q: My pet seems to be in pain, and isn't as active as they should be. What should I do?

A: First, talk to your veterinarian and have them examine your pet. Your pet might have arthritis. Older pets, especially large dogs, are vulnerable to arthritis and other joint diseases, and the signs you see can vary. This chart provides the basic signs you might see if your pet has arthritis; you might see one or more of these signs in your pet.

Signs of Arthritis in Pets

Favoring a limb
Difficulty sitting or standing
Sleeping more
Seeming to have stiff or sore joints
Hesitancy to jump, run or climb stairs
Weight gain
Decreased activity or interest in play
Attitude or behavior changes (including increased irritability)
Being less alert

Signs of arthritis often are similar to signs of normal aging, so if your pet seems to have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, the best thing to do is to have your veterinarian examine them, and then advise you as to what treatment plan would be best to help your pet deal with the pain. Arthritis treatments for pets are similar to those for humans, and may include:

Healthy diet and exercise to help maintain proper weight.
Working with your veterinarian to find a drug treatment that helps relieve the pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS): the most common treatment for arthritis in dogs. These drugs are similar to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other human pain relievers.
Over-the-counter pet treatments, such as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids. Both have shown to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
Over-the-counter pet treatments, such as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty acids. Both have shown to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
A veterinarian-prescribed NSAID and an over-the-counter treatment that together may help decrease pain and disease progression.
Diets with special supplements may also help decrease the discomfort and increase the joint mobility

Do not give human pain medications to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian. Some human products, including over-the-counter medications, can be fatal for pets.

Changes in the home environment may also help you deal with an older pet who is experiencing stiffness and/or pain. Orthopedic beds, stair steps to help an animal up to higher places (so they don't have to jump), raised feeding platforms, etc. can help make your arthritic pet's life more comfortable.

What is a cataract? 

Inside the lens that focuses light on the back of the eye or the retina. Vision occurs at the retina.  The structure of the eye is similar to a camera, which has a lens to focus light on the film. If the lens becomes opaque that is called a cataract.

What causes cataracts?

The most common cause of cataracts in the dog is inherited cataract formation.  Other causes include injuries to the eye or diseases such as diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). Some cataracts appear to occur spontaneously and are age related.

If your pet has cataracts some things you can do at home to help your pet be comfortable are:

Leave the porch light off and turn on a light in the house that way the door frame is outlined and the porch light is not making it harder for your dog to see.

It is also helpful to not move furniture. Since cataracts impair your pets vision they have to rely on other senses and memory to get around.

Q: My older pet is exhibiting changes in behavior. What's going on?

A: Before any medical signs become apparent, behavioral changes can serve as important indicators that something is changing in an older pet, which may be due to medical or other reasons. As your pet's owner, you serve a critical role in detecting early signs of disease because you interact and care for your pet on a daily basis and are familiar with your pet's behavior and routines. If your pet is showing any change in behavior or other warning signs of disease, contact your veterinarian and provide them with a list of the changes you have observed in your pet. Sometimes, the changes may seem contradictory - such as an older pet that has symptoms of hearing loss but also seems more sensitive to strange sounds.

Possible Behavior Changes in Older Pets

Increased reaction to sounds
Increased vocalization
Decreased interaction w/humans
Increased irritability
Decreased response to commands
Increased aggressive/protective behavior
Increased anxiety
House soiling
Decreased self-hygiene/grooming
Repetitive activity
Increased wandering
Change in sleep cycles

Our Veterinarians here at Greenfield Animal Hospital recommend a general health exam every 6 months. Along with this exam they also suggest having lab work done to make sure that vital organ function is not elevated. Some older pets may have an incontinence issues which may require a urinalysis to make sure there is not an underlying infection.

Other things to help your pet be more comfortable are Power paws, pets with arthritis can some times have a harder time getting up and down especially on slick floors. Power paws help your pet have more traction getting up and down.

Along with maintaining a healthy body weight (body condition score of a 4 to 5) glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, and  laser therapy may also help your pet be more comfortable as they get older and develope arthritis.