AT-HOME CHECKLIST | Subtle Signs of Mobility Issues
As your companion ages, you may notice that they are no longer as sprightly and agile as they were in their younger days. While some of this may be the result of a mature outlook, this slower pace is more often the beginning indication of discomfort or inflamed muscles and joints.
The good news is that there is plenty that can be done for your companion to help them maintain as much mobility as possible and minimize their discomfort as they age – particularly when action is taken to support them as soon as you notice issues arise.
What Are Early Treatment Options?
If you notice indications that your dog or cat may be experiencing some discomfort or decreased mobility, the first step is to book an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the issue and allow them to assess your companion. They will be able to tailor a treatment or management plan specifically for your pet.
Depending on the situation, initial suggestions for supporting your companion could include weight loss recommendations, joint supplements (oral or injectable options), a customized home exercise program, or alternatives to your dog’s current exercise regime. More advanced mobility issues might benefit from additional diagnostics such as bloodwork or radiographs, and additional medications to help manage pain and inflammation.
What Should I Look For?
- Difficulty getting up after long periods of rest (first thing in the morning)
- Difficulty getting up after shorter periods of rest (after napping during the day)
- Struggling to find a comfortable place to lie down (moving to different locations or seeming restless while trying to settle down to rest)
- Difficulty transitioning from standing to either sitting or lying down
- Hesitation or reluctance to sit or lie down when asked, especially if they are typically quite compliant
- Hesitation when jumping in or out of the vehicle
- Hesitation or reluctance to go up or down stairs
- Difficulty holding a ‘tidy’ sit, opting for a ‘lazy’ sit with a leg kicked out to the side
- Difficulty holding a ‘tidy’ down, opting for a ‘lazy’ down by rolling onto one hip – either a preference for one hip, or rolling to either hip
- Reluctance to allow a foot to be picked up for wiping after muddy walks
- Adopting a slower pace during walks (for the whole walk, partway through, or toward the end of the walk)
- More likely to walk by someone’s side when previously they preferred to forge ahead
- Seem better behaved in the house (less likely to jump up on people, counter or couch surf, other ‘naughty’ habits that involve extra exertion)
If you notice any of these indications that your companion might be developing mobility issues, or any other changes that cause you concern, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. Early intervention and support can make a big difference in your companion’s quality of life – we’re here to help!