If your dog or cat suffers from Arthritis, they may also be suffering with depression. Often times, we attribute depression as a sign of the debilitating disease itself. This is because the signs of depression often mimic the signs of pain. As pet parents, if we are diagnosed with a chronic, degenerative disease we receive the verbal warning from our doctor. The actual diagnosis in itself is scary. We then have time to ponder how this will affect our life. We are then susceptible to depression not only from the pain and discomfort, but also we can become depressed from the worrying that in sues. Although many pet parents think their pets understand every word they are saying, in reality there is no way that our furry friends would understand the effect that the veterinarians arthritis diagnosis will have on their life. The depression that our pets go through while suffering from arthritis, is from the pain, discomfort, and mobility issues that they have to face daily.
It is very important for you to speak to your pet’s veterinarian if you notice signs of depression or pain. The symptoms of each condition need to be evaluated and are treated entirely different. If your family pet is suffering from depression alone, some good one-on-one time might need to be scheduled. Perhaps a nice stroll outdoors, a good swim at the lake, or a game of chase would help. However, if your pet is in severe pain, a long walk or game of chase may be the worst thing you could do. It is difficult to distinguish between the two conditions, as both may show signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, or even aggression. Your vet should be able to rule out pain through a physical examination. If arthritis is causing you pet severe pain, there are steps you can take to help eliminate those unwanted symptoms. Your vet may try an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) for a short period of time to see if it offers any relief. Many studies show that NSAID’s should not be taken for prolonged periods of time. You vet may also suggest a natural route for long term care. Glucosamine and Chondroitin work synergistically together to help fight arthritis pain and discomfort. Low impact exercise may be suggested to get the joints loose and fluid, like swimming or light walking.
If these attempts fail or get worse, your pet may be suffering from depression as well. You may notice they are increasingly irritable, have lost interest in activities they usually liked, or they are exhibiting extreme changes in behavior. Because our pets can not tell us when they are in pain, it is not uncommon for us to notice the issue after it has developed into a depressive state. You should consult with your vet if you notice any changes in behavior or in physicality. Depression should not be something our pets have to live through in there already short life.