Arthritis In Dogs And Cats

arthritis in dogs and cats
Dr. Abdul Basit Javed (DVM, RVMP) 
Dogs and cats bring a lot of joy into our lives, but they, like all living things, can suffer from health issues, one of which is arthritis. As a dog or cat owner, you should be aware of this prevalent health condition. 

In general, arthritis can be defined as the inflammation of the joints. Different kinds of arthritis can affect pets. Border collies are prone to osteoarthritis, which also affects cat breeds such as Ragdolls and Siberians.  

You've come to the right place if you're a dog or cat owner who primarily owns a Border Collie or a Radgoll/Siberian cat breed. Our small animal veterinarian has put together this comprehensive guide regarding arthritis in dogs and cats, as well as effective treatments, so keep reading. 
What Is Arthritis? 
Joints of dogs and cats are lined with cartilage, which acts as "cohesion" between bones and provides a smooth surface for frictionless articulation. When the cartilage in the joints is damaged, bony spurs/growths form, or the connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) around the joint thicken or get bruised, arthritis develops. 
Arthritis is one of the most prevalent health issues in cats and dogs. Arthritis affects one out of every five dogs, according to statistics. 
Another survey found that roughly 20% of middle-aged dogs have the condition, while 90% of senior dogs have arthritis in one or more joints. When it comes to Border Collies, they are prone to arthritis, particularly as they grow older.  
According to research, 90 percent of cats over the age of 12 had radiographic indications of osteoarthritis. Arthritis is most common in senior cats and dogs, usually those above the age of seven. 
Ragdoll and Siberian cat owners, as well as Border Colle owners, should pay close attention to this data because these breeds are more susceptible to arthritis in old age. 

Causes Of Arthritis Affecting Dogs And Cats?

 All cat and dog owners should be aware of the following causes of arthritis in pets:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Injury to the joint (car accident, penetration of a joint by a sharp object, or bite)
  • Infection in the joint
  • The strain on the joint (may occur in working dogs)
  • Tick-borne disease
  • Congenital joint disorders like hip dysplasia
  • Old age
  • Obesity

Types Of Arthritis Affecting Dogs And Cats? 

Following are some of the most common types of arthritis in dogs and cats: 

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Septic arthritis 

Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs And Cats 

The following are the symptoms of arthritis in cats and dogs:    

  • Lameness in one or more limbs  
  • Not putting weight equally on all limbs 
  • Difficulty moving and climbing objects 
  • Joint stiffness
  • Lethargy 
  • No interest in exercise
  • Difficulty using litterbox
  • Loss of muscle mass (thigh region) 
  • Swollen joints
  • Licking or biting the joints 
  • Irritability or aggression
  • Abnormal gait and posture 

How To Prevent & Treat Arthritis In Pets

arthritis in pets, border collie

Arthritis cannot be completely prevented, but the strategies listed below can help reduce its prevalence in pets. 


One excellent way to avoid arthritis in old age is to feed your dog or cat a balanced diet. Foods that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories (omega-3 fatty acids). 
Your veterinarian may also suggest special pet food formulated specifically for pets at high risk of arthritis, such as Border Collies. 


As a dog or cat owner, you must not overlook the significance of your pet's daily physical activity and exercise. 
Regular exercise keeps your pet's joints mobile and active, lowering the likelihood of arthritis. However, remember not to over-exercise your pet since this might cause extra strain on your pet's joints.  


One of the most effective ways to prevent arthritis in dogs and cats is by offering supplements. Supplements that are commonly used include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), and omega-3 fatty acids. 

These aid in reducing joint pain, improving joint cartilage health and decreasing the progression of arthritis. I would recommend consulting a veterinarian for the right supplement dosage for your pet. 

Weight management 

Over-weight pets are highly prone to arthritis so ensure your pet has appropriate weight according to its breed and age. 

Comfortable living environment 

If you have a senior dog or cat, make sure they have a comfortable living space. For example, make sure they don't have to walk stairs and provide them with a orthopedic bed, . All of these things will help to decrease the progression of their arthritis.  

Regular veterinary check-ups 

Never skip your pet's routine veterinary appointments. Regular veterinary check-ups ensure your pet has optimal health status, as well as identify any early symptoms of arthritis in pets for timely diagnosis and treatment before the illness worsens. 
Treatment Of Arthritis In Dogs And Cats
Arthritis can cause severe pain and discomfort in dogs and cats, and it can also induce stress and anxiety. Arthritis cannot be completely cured, but its symptoms can be alleviated, making life easier for the pet. Arthritis symptoms can be managed naturally as well as with conventional medications and surgery. 
Non-Invasive And Natural Treatments: 

Laser therapy 

Laser therapy, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or photobiomodulation therapy, is one of the most effective non-invasive treatments for arthritis in dogs and cats. 
Laser therapy involves the use of certain wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular activity to promote healing. 
Laser therapy for Border Collies, Ragdolls, and Siberian cats has several advantages, including reduced inflammation, pain alleviation, increased blood circulation, and improved cellular health. 


Hydrotherapy, commonly known as water therapy, is a non-invasive treatment option for treating arthritis pain in dogs and cats. It is a less expensive treatment than laser therapy, which is great news for pet owners. 
This treatment involves walking the dog or cat underwater on a treadmill. The pet's body is submerged in water,  decreasing joint strain. Cold water also helps pets with joint pain. 


Massage Therapy

Massage has been clinically proven to increase blood flow and improve oxygen delivery to tissues, and relaxes the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints. This helps to alleviate pain and inflammation in the joints, as well as improve overall health. Interested in massaging benefits for your pets?👉 Click Here🐾


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine method that is now widely used to relieve pain caused by arthritis in pets. 
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into the pet's body at certain pressure points in order to release pressure on nerves. 
Endorphins, which are natural painkillers, are released in your pet's body as the pressure is released from the nerves. These chemical compounds help to relieve your pet's discomfort from arthritis. 

CBD oil 

Although it is somewhat controversial, CBD oil has proven to be quite successful in treating many types of pains in pets, particularly dogs, including arthritis-related pain. 
There have been no major side effects associated with the usage of CBD oil in dogs and cats. CBD oil, in addition to reducing pain, offers anti-anxiety properties that reduce your pet's stress caused by arthritis.  

arthritis in ragdoll cats and siberian cats  
CBD oil is a safe and effective way to treat arthritis symptoms in Border Collies, Ragdolls, and Siberian cats.  


Physiotherapy from a qualified veterinary therapist can be a game changer for your pet's arthritis. It involves controlled exercises that help improve joint mobility without causing pain and promote joint health. 
Medical treatments: 


In severe cases where natural treatments fail to provide relief from arthritis symptoms in dogs and cats, veterinarians will prescribe specific drugs to treat arthritis symptoms. 
These medications mostly include NSAIDs (carprofen, meloxicam, firocoxib, tepoxalin), anticonvulsants (gabapentin), and steroids (dexamethasone or prednisolone). 
These drugs are potent painkillers and anti-inflammatories. These medications should only be used after consulting with a veterinarian, as even minor overdoses can result in serious consequences in cats and dogs. 


Surgery is the only permanent treatment for arthritis. However, surgery cannot be performed on all arthritis-affected pets. 
Old Border Collies, Ragdolls, and Siberian cats are not good surgical candidates. Furthermore, arthritis surgery can be an expensive procedure that not all dog or cat owners can afford. 
Surgery typically involves repairing the damaged joint surfaces or replacing the damaged joint surfaces with titanium implants (prostheses).  

Bottom Line

Arthritis is a common condition in dogs and cats that can cause pain and discomfort. There are several ways that can help reduce inflammation and increase mobility and to keep your furry friend comfortable.  If you suspect your dog has arthritis, it's important to work with your veterinarian to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your dog's arthritis.