In Need of an Intervention

Companion Trends

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Latest research from Banfield reveals cases of osteoarthritis is a major health issue for pets – especially cats.


Banfield Pet Hospital ® recently released its 2019 State of Pet Health Report®, which explores the growing trend of osteoarthritis (OA) in pets – a progressive and painful degenerative disease that can go unnoticed and undiagnosed. According to the report, Banfield has witnessed a 66% increase of OA in dogs.

For cats, it’s worse. Banfield reported a 150% increase in cats over the past 10 years.

Discomfort from OA can keep pets from being active, lead to weight gain, and in turn, worsen the joint condition. Banfield found 52% of dogs and 41% of cats with OA are also overweight or obese.

“Therefore, weight management is an important part of treating OA, even if a pet is not currently overweight,” Banfield said in a release.

While OA is more common in older pets, the disease can develop in dogs and cats at any age. Further, the progressive and degenerative disease can go undiagnosed, with pet owners often mistaking signs of OA as normal “old age” behavior.

Other key findings from Banfield’s 2019 State of Pet Health Report include:

  • 6.1% of dogs and 1.1% of cats are affected by OA
  • More than 20% of dogs and 4% of cats ten years of age and older are affected by OA
  • Dogs with OA are 1.7 times more likely to be overweight or obese
  • Cats with OA are 1.2 times more likely to be overweight or obese

“As veterinary professionals and pet lovers ourselves, all of us at Banfield understand diagnosing and treating a complicated and sometimes overlooked disease like osteoarthritis is a joint effort – and that pets can benefit from better management of both pain and excess weight,” said Molly McAllister, chief medical officer, Banfield Pet Hospital. “At Banfield, our goal is to arm pet owners with the tools they need to spot signs of OA and empower them to have meaningful conversations with their veterinarians to give their pets the best lives possible.”

Products and services

Banfield provided a list of products and services veterinarians may use to diagnose and treat pets with osteoarthritis. They include:

  • Extended physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests
  • X-rays
  • Inflammatory medications
  • Pain medications
  • Supplements
  • Weight management plan
  • Pet activity monitor
  • Other services (Could include acupuncture or physical therapy)

“Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that will get worse over time, and unfortunately, there is no cure,” the company says on its website. “But interventions may slow down the disease’s progression and ensure a pet remains as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.”

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