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Published: Mar 05, 2012

Arthritis is a common problem in both cats and dogs, so it is important for owners to know the clinical signs of this condition.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, arthritis is categorized as either primary or secondary. Secondary arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is the most common form of joint inflammation in pets. This type of arthritis relates to instability and inflammation in the joints and can be brought on by injury, obesity, hip dysplasia, or simply may progress as an animal gets older. Primary arthritis is also known as rheumatoid arthritis and refers to the actual erosion of the bone. Typically, this type of arthritis can be detected by xrays and sometimes a blood test.

Clinical signs that owners should look out for vary depending on the animal, reports ABC News. Dogs with arthritis will likely appear to be tired or show signs of “slowing down” and may be less willing to walk. They may also adjust their stride to a limp or begin to bunny hop. Prompting the dog to jump into a vehicle or to go up or down stairs are good ways for an owner to detect if the animal is hesitant to do so or is favoring certain joints.

Arthritis is a bit more difficult to detect in cats, as they tend to move around less than dogs do. An owner should note if a cat is not jumping onto furniture or ledges as much as it used to, or has stopped grooming particular areas of its body, as this may indicate pain.  If your cat or dog are showing any of these possible signs of arthritis, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough check-up.