As the weather changes, many of our older pets have more trouble getting around. They become stiffer on rising, more likely to lie down and not play, become restless and may even eat less. These are all signs that can be associated with chronic joint disease, or osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful condition affecting dogs and cats, both young and old. It is characterized by degeneration of the cartilage causing damage to the cushion between the bones of the joint, and a decrease in the joint fluid. OA is accompanied by pain, stiffness and limited joint motion.  OA can result from injury, from congenital abnormalities like hip dysplasia, or chronic wear and tear.  Once arthritis is present it cannot be  reversed. At Cascade Animal Clinic we can suggest therapies that can slow the damage, reduce pain and restore joint function.

  • Surgical correction, if possible, can limit the damage to the joint, and the severity of OA.
  • Obesity adds stress to the joints, so weight loss can improve joint function. 
  • Exercise is important to maintain muscle tone, and flexibility of the joint. Low-impact exercise such as swimming or walking is better for the joints than high-impact activities, such as running or jumping.


Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but with medical management and physical therapy, Cascade Animal Clinic can significantly improve the quality of our pets' lives. 

  • Supplements can help to maintain/restore the health of the joint. They include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM and fatty acids.  They can be found as single ingredients or in combinations.  There are very few side effects to these products and they can be used long term and in combination with many other drugs and supplements.
  • Adequan is a medication that is given by injection and aids in restoring the quality and quantity of the joint fluid, resulting in improved lubrication for the joint.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications are used when supplements are no longer providing enough pain relief in dogs with worsening OA. The most common of these drugs are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). NSAIDS have a risk of side effects involving the intestinal tract, liver and kidneys.  Cats are very sensitive to this class of drugs and cannot take them. Human NSAIDS such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen should not be used in dogs and cats. Tylenol is also very toxic to dogs and cats. Even one dose of Tylenol to a cat can be fatal.
  • Some dogs and cats require additional pain control if the pain is severe. These drugs can be given in addition to the supplements and anti-inflammatory medications if needed.
  • Dogs and cats can also benefit from other forms of treatment such as acupuncture, massage, hydrotherapy, heat/cold therapy and range of motion exercises.  These alternative therapies may be very beneficial depending on the location and degree of osteoarthritis.

older dog running with stick
Older black dog looking right
older dog in house