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Pets, like adults, have new and more frequent health issues as they age. A pet is considered senior at age seven and veterinarians recommend bringing them in twice a year for an examination. During this time, we can look at diet and weight management, joint health, eye health and perform lab tests to determine how their thyroid, kidney and liver is functioning and screen for diseases like diabetes.

Even if your pet is not yet age seven, joint health can be a concern for many pets, particularly larger breeds or pets that are carrying a few extra pounds. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the number one cause of chronic pain in dogs, affecting about 1 in 5 dogs in the United States. It is a degenerative disease that worsens with age as the protective cartilage in joints wears down and causes painful swelling and stiffness that can make movement difficult. Arthritis can affect any joint but it is commonly diagnosed in knees, elbows, wrists, hips and the spine.

Dogs suffering from OA may avoid activity like running or stairs, shy away from being held or picked up, limp, seem irritable and lethargic, or just not like their usual selves. Although there is no cure, OA pain can be managed with appropriate treatment to help your dog stay as active as possible. A treatment plan may include PREVICOX (firocoxib) to relieve pain and inflammation, joint health supplements as well as appropriate exercise and weight control. If you suspect your pet may be in pain or you notice any of the signs above, talk to your veterinarian now to start treatment before the condition worsens. Pets are adept at hiding pain from us so we as their caregivers must watch for the symptoms they might need help.

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic

205-991-5416

 www.valleydaleanimalclinic.com

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