Why do our pets get lame as they get older?


Have you ever wondered why your pet may get lame as they get older? Here at Palmerstown Veterinary Hospital we treat a lot of our four legged patients for this condition.



Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is the progressive and permanent deterioration of the cartilage of the joints that can cause chronic pain and affect the quality of life of your pet.

There are three main types of arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis – this occurs after years of wear and tear on the joints. Our vet Eavan Ryan says ‘This is the most common type of arthritis that we see in Palmerstown Veterinary Hospital.’
  • Rheumatoid arthritis – this is seen in our smaller breeds and is caused by an abnormality in the immune system
  • Septic arthritis – when bacterial infection enters the joint.

Clinical signs you may notice include your pet being lame, not as interested in going for walks and stiff after lying down for even a short time and more irritable.


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A clinical examination at Palmerstown Veterinary Hospital will help us to pin point the site of pain and assess the level of pain your pet is in.

An x-ray to examine the joints more thoroughly can help to confirm the diagnosis.

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As osteoarthritis is a chronic progressive condition, the aim is to treat the clinical signs of pain and improve the quality of life of your pet.

  • Medical management is in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and we have a variety of these at Palmerstown Veterinary Hospital, depending on your pet’s individual condition.
  • Weight management is also important in the long-term control of osteoarthritis.

Our team of experienced nurses will be able to discuss many of the foods that are low in fat and aid weight loss which are also palatable for your pet.

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So if you feel your pet may be suffering from osteoarthritis please come down to the surgery and make an appointment with one of our vets and we will do our best to put the spring back in their step!

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