Skip To Content

Aches And Pains In Senior Pets


Joint pain during the winter months, slow to get going in the morning, reluctance to go for long walks. As veterinary medicine and the care we provide continues to improve, our pets are living longer now than ever before. These longer lifespans are bringing with them more age-related conditions for us to care for. Unfortunately, there is no perfect equation to say how old our pets are in human years. But according to the AVMA, a 15-year-old cat is equivalent to a 78-year-old person and a 15-year-old dog, depending on size, is equivalent to a 76-115-year-old person (small to very large breed). There are numerous problems that can befall our geriatric pets such as heart disease, diabetes, senility, and even cancer. But the most commonly see is joint and bone disease and weakness. Older pets, especially larger breeds, are prone to arthritis and joint disease that can lead to pain and weakness.

How To Tell If Your Pet Has Arthritis

Some signs of arthritis in pets can be non-specific and often similar to normal aging so ask your vet to evaluate your senior pets pain level at each visit. Some signs are weight gain, sleeping more, favoring a limb, hesitating to jump or run, decreased activity or interest in play, decreased energy levels, mobility issues, and stiff or sore joints. The good thing about improvements in veterinary medicine is that there have also been improvements in how we treat arthritis and pain in out pets. There are more options now than ever before and can include both Eastern and Western medicine philosophies.

  • Acupuncture: This technique has been used in human and animal medicine in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments including arthritis. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated with the insertion of a needle. There has been a lot of research to show positive results in the treatment of arthritis with acupuncture.
  • Cold Laser: Cold laser uses a beam of light to stimulate cell regeneration and increase blood circulation. It has been used with great success in treating arthritis, tendon or soft tissue injuries, and promotes wound healing.
  • Omega 3 Fatty acids: The two main omega-3 fatty acids used for anti-inflammatory purposes is EPA and DHA. They have been used to improve coat quality, help with allergic skin disease, and to decrease inflammation in joint disease and arthritis. The key point we have found is that many over the counter fatty acid supplements do not have the appropriate dosage to be efficacious for our pets as an anti-inflammatory therapy. Consult your vet about possible use for your pet, we generally recommend 60 mg/kg of body weight of combined EPA and DHA to be effective.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Glucosamine effects the collagen within the cartilage and has a mild anti-inflammatory effect due to its ability to scavenge free radicals. Chondroitin inhibits the destructive enzymes within the joint and cartilage. When used together they have shown some positive effects in the treatment of arthritis and joint pain in our senior pets.
  • Prescribed Pain medications: There are numerous prescription medications your veterinarian can prescribe for the benefit and treatment of your senior pets pain that can greatly improve their quality and longevity. These prescribed pain medications can help ease chronic pain.

With the extension of our pets’ time with us, we in the veterinary field are here to help them feel their best and live long happy lives with the pet owners that love them. There are so many options available to us to help our pets, consult your veterinarian on what you can do to help your pet age with grace today.

What Our Clients Have To Say

Brought my baby ferret here, Dr. Sam was awesome about letting me ask all of my questions and giving me direct answers (really bothers me when we see a vet for our cats and can’t get clear answers).

Katie Martin

The staff and doctors were extremely helpful and kind. I feel confident in their ability to diagnose and treat my puppies. I’m so thankful they were referred to me by a friend.

Patty Sisson

Most caring and helpful Vet ever. The staff are amazing and are so wonderful with all pets. They take amazing care of my two fur babies. I wouldn’t trust my two pups with anyone else. You can really tell how much the love animals.

Jean Hamilton

By far the best vet I have ever been to! We just moved to the area and by some horrible chance had two pet emergencies in our first month with my pets, Moose and Thor. Not only did they get us in same day..

Joe R

Incredibly grateful to the staff of University Animal Clinic. We have been a customer for over 20 years. They were able to take care of our dog Duke today for an unscheduled appointment for UTI. Couldn’t imagine going to anybody else.

Ellen Wolak

Very welcoming right from the moment I made the first appointment. Due to the COVID virus, I could not go in with my cat to see the vet but she called me and we had a great conversation. They took some blood and a few days later the vet called me with the results.

Cara Pabis

Awesome reptile vet! I thought there was a problem with my bearded dragon so I made an app to bring him in. Dr. Sara was knowledgeable, professional, and down to earth. UAC is clean and doesn’t smell like urine whatsoever. I love coming here and will continue to bring my pets here.

Tresha Keener

This was Tanks first visit and will be his only vet from now on!!! They were helpful, informative and friendly!! Thanks to everyone who works there!!! Tank had a great experience!

Dean Gibson

Yesterday was our first visit to this clinic. I brought my 6 year old Goffin Cockatoo Chance in for a wellness check and nail trim and also to discuss her ongoing feather plucking issues. Dr. Leigh Samanowitz was Amazing as were all the staff.

Margie Bauer

We’ve always had a great experience at University Animal Clinic. The doctors and team are all very knowledgeable and friendly. They get back to you in a timely manner and work with you when it comes to scheduling appointments.

Natalie Platt
Back To Top