Respect your Elder Dogs

Pets can develop osteoarthritis just like humans do.

By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Pets | Issue: October 2012

Dr. Jenny Nobles and Dr. Gena Guerriero of Family Animal Medicine.

Dr. Jenny Nobles and Dr. Gena Guerriero of Family Animal Medicine.

What would you do if your best friend told you that she was in constant pain and that everyday movements were becoming ­difficult? You’d want to do all you could to help, right? What if man’s best friend, your beloved pet, was suffering, but couldn’t “tell” you? Dr. Jenny Nobles and Dr. Gena Guerriero of Family Animal Medicine say that ­scenario is all too common.

    Just like older humans, ­older pets can develop osteoarthritis, a chronic ­degenerative disease that may affect any joint, but is commonly found in the hips, elbows or shoulders. Even the knees, wrists, ankles or spine can be affected by arthritis when ­cartilage in the joint is damaged through an accident, wear and tear, or a congenital abnormality.

    Pet owners who are with their dogs on a daily basis may not notice the subtle changes, which include reluctance to take walks, stiffness that disappears once the pet is moving, and ­difficulty climbing stairs, into the car or onto a bed or sofa. Other signs are difficulty rising from rest, limping, an abnormal gait, licking of a single joint or acting withdrawn. Rarely, a dog may even show aggression when touched or approached.

    “The bad news is that as the weather gets colder, pets with arthritis will have more aches and pains,” says Dr. Nobles. “The good news is, there are many things to do to help them out.” Although canine arthritis is incurable, it can be managed to help your dog live a longer, healthier life.  

    Dr. Nobles says that weight reduction and controlled exercise are the start, followed by a proper diet, nutritional supplements and medication if necessary. Some pets benefit greatly from non-medicinal pain control such as physical therapy, cold laser therapy, chiropractics and acupuncture. For those pets that do need medication, prescription drugs are available to reduce cartilage inflammation and suppress pain in dogs with more advanced disease. “We ­normally suggest a trial period of a week or two, and many of our clients see continuing improvement several months into various treatments and/or medications. Many clients say their dogs act years younger and they didn’t realize how much pain the animal had been enduring.”

    If you feel your older dog (or cat) may benefit from ­treatment, give Family Animal Medicine a call today to schedule an appointment for a geriatric visit. Dogs seven years and older will receive a free complete ­physical exam starting in October through December. “We just really want to encourage local pet owners to take care of their senior dogs and keep them as pain-free and content as possible,” said Dr. Nobles.

    Dr. Guerriero is excited to offer the RimaDog™ savings program for pet owners whose animals are prescribed Rimadyl® to help with their arthritis. This plan offers rebates and rewards that can be used at Family Animal Medicine for other ­services and products when Rimadyl® is purchased. “We don’t want clients to leave their pets untreated due to the cost of medications, so we do everything we can to keep it affordable, and this program is another tool we can use to lower costs,” explained Dr. Guerriero. “Treatments start as low as $20 a month, so it’s very affordable to make their quality of life so much greater.”

    The doctors at Family Animal Medicine are here to help you care for your pets at every stage of their lives, and their dedicated and caring staff members recognize the ­importance of your furry family members as well. Staff member Wanda Cline has been caring for Owasso animals for 22 years. “We recently had a client ­checking on a geriatric visit for her 13-year-old dog. Wanda was the one who taught her how to care for this dog when it was adopted as a tiny puppy all those years ago, and literally through every stage of its life. She and her dog look forward to coming to the vet,” shared Dr. Gena. “That is exactly the kind of ­relationship we want to have with our clients and their pets.” 

For more information, contact

Family Animal ­Medicine

9200 N. Garnett Rd.
Owasso, OK 74055
(918) 609-6111

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Family Animal Medicine

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