What are mobility problems?
This is a general term for changes in the joint, which can be caused by abnormal wear and tear.
This occurs when the cartilage is worn away faster than it can be replaced.
The cartilage in our joints acts like a cushion to protect the bones. When it becomes worn, the joint will become stiff, mobility is decreased and pain and disability are prone to develop.
Mobility problems are not curable, but it is possible to manage it and prevent it from becoming worse. Early detection and management are very important.

What are the signs of a pet with mobility problems?
Mobility problems can have a very serious effect on your pet's health. In dogs, you'll notice they are finding it more difficult to get up, they are stiff and reluctant to run or walk. Cats generally hide their discomfort for much longer and only become inactive, resting more frequently or only jump from reduced heights.

Signs seen in cats:
  • Shows decreased activity
  • Becomes reclusive
  • Is reluctant to jump on or off surfaces
  • Uses the litter box less frequently
  • Walks stiffly and may limp 
Signs seen in dogs:
  • Shows stiffness, especially after resting
  • Hesitates to go up and/or down stairs
  • Legs behind or tires easily during exercise
  • Prefers to lie down rather than sit or stand
  • Whimpers, growls or snaps when touched in the affected area

What can cause mobility problems?
Contributing Factors

Age: as pets get older, joint cartilage progressively wears away. Mobility problems are much more common in older dogs and cats, it is possible for young pets to suffer from it as well.
Breed: certain breeds are more prone to developing mobility problems. Some "at-risk" dog breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepards and Rottweilers. For cats Himalayans, Persians and Siamese are considered "at-risk" breeds.
Excess Weight: this causes stress on the joints and cartilage, which increases the risk of joint problems.

Possible Causes

Congenital or Hereditary defects: some breeds may have congenital or hereditary conditions that make them more prone to developing mobility problems later in life.
Accidents or trauma: Trauma to the cartilage may lead to mobility problems later in life and adversely affect your pets mobility.

What can be done to manage this?
Making sure your pet gets enough EPA and Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet helps to strengthen their joints. Feeding a diet high in Omega-3's, or supplementing them will help to prevent the joints from becoming worse. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
Rosswell Animal Hospital, Ontario, Courtice

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Rosswell Animal Hospital, Ontario, Courtice

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