Canine and Feline Lameness/Arthritis

Animal Doctor provides Lameness/Arthritis diagnosis and treatment for dogs and cats. We accept referrals and provide second opinions.

Description: Osteoarthritis is a complex condition involving inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints.

Symptoms & What to look for: Depending on the cause of your pets’ lameness we can see a wide variety of abnormalities. You may see limping, holding the leg up or an inability to use the leg. You may otherwise notice difficulty getting up, using stairs, standing for long periods or sitting normally. These symptoms may ‘come and go’ or be constantly present.

How does it happen? Pets can experience trauma (rough-housing with other pets, falling, objects falling on the pet) resulting in lameness. We can also see lameness as the result of skeletal changes within the joint. Dogs and cats of all sizes and breeds can be affected by osteoarthritis (OA) pain. Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative joint disease with no known cure, but we can manage the pain, and improve and enrich our pet’s lives with a multi-modal approach to treatment. While OA is not a curable disease, there are many options for treating the pain associated with the disease, including joint supplements, prescription foods, oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory and nerve pain medications, as well as injectable treatments such as Adequan, Solensia (cats) and Librela (dogs).

Animal Doctor Radiograph
Animal Doctor Radiograph
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Animal Doctor Lameness/Arthritis Questions:

  • How long have you noticed the limping?
  • Which leg(s) are affected?
  • How often does he/she limp? Is it worse at a particular time of the day?
  • History of trauma?
  • Any limping in the past?
  • Have you tried anything at home?
  • Is he/she on any medications? Include dosage and frequency.

What are the steps we take to treat your pet?

  • The first step in diagnosing and treating your pet is a taking a thorough history and completing a physical exam. We may want to perform radiographs (x-rays) of the injured leg to identify any abnormalities and better target our treatment. We commonly sedate pets that are having radiographs done. This sedation eliminates pain and discomfort to allow for a better exam of the injured area and better positioning for the radiograph.
  • We may also recommend some general blood testing (chemistry panel and complete blood count) to check organ function and ensure our treatment plan will be safe for your pet.

Animal Doctor Lameness/Arthritis potential treatment plans for dogs?

Oral medications

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories – NSAIDS (Carprofen, Galliprant, Deracoxib, Metacam): these medications decrease inflammation and control pain. This is often a “first-line” treatment.
  • Gabapentin: this is a pain medication that is commonly used for neuropathic pain and is good as a “first-line” treatment or as an “add-on” for additional pain control.
  • Tramadol: this is a pain medication that is commonly used as an “add-on” for additional pain control.
  • Joint supplements (dasuquin, synovi chews) and Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplements are often prescribed.


  • LIBRELA: this is a once monthly injection that provides long-term osteoarthritis pain. It is the first monoclonal antibody that works to reduce pain signals, making it easier for your dog to move and play!
  • Adequan: this component targets joints to help restore lubrication, relieve inflammation and renew the building blocks of healthy cartilage. The injections have an accumulative effect so we start out giving one injection per week for 4 weeks then one injection every other week followed by one injection monthly indefinitely.

Animal Doctor Lameness/Arthritis potential treatment plans for cats?

Oral medications

  • Gabapentin: this is a pain medication that is commonly used for neuropathic pain and is good as a “first-line” treatment or as an “add-on” for additional pain control.


  • SOLENSIA: this is a once monthly injection that provides long-term osteoarthritis pain. It is the first monoclonal antibody that works to reduce pain signals, making it easier for your cat to move and play!

Chiropractic adjustments & Laser Therapy are available if indicated!

What are the risks if lameness is left untreated?

Lameness can be a medical problem that requires treatment. If left untreated, your pets’ condition may progress leading to more inflammation, pain and a decreased quality of life.

What results have we seen

Laser Therapy
Librela Testimonials:


The main problem for Copper was she was in pain, she couldn’t even walk or hold her head up sometimes. She would only play for a couple of minutes, then she was done for the day. She was sleeping all the time. After her first Librela injection, she was better even the next day! She is getting in her toybox now and playing, and she hasn’t done that in months, and she is sleeping less. Copper was given a monthly subcutaneous injection of Librela, a safe, new monoclonal antibody treatment for arthritis pain in dogs. Copper’s owner thinks she is doing excellent, wonderful, and very thankful she is doing so much better!


Prior to Librela, Nala had difficulty climbing stairs, jumping up on the bed, and could not play. Basically,
she laid around and slept most of the day. Her bed time sleep would be interrupted several times. Her
appetite was diminished and she might go two feedings before eating again. Within the first three days, she started to play with her sister, going on walks, and her sleep was less restless. She began using the stairs, she could get into bed most of the time. Our experience with Librela has been very positive. We will be using Librela for the rest of her life. We recommend Animal Doctor to everyone we know looking for quality veterinary services. We are treated like family. Every visit or call has helped us make better decisions for Nala’s treatment for a healthier life. If you are undecided about using Librela on your dogs, Nala is 13 ½ years old and she is acting young again!
Before Librela, Tucker was always tired, had no energy, showed no interest in playing, and we had a hard time getting Tucker to go outside. He was grumpier and we could tell he was hurting, couldn’t go on walks, and had trouble with stairs. After Librela, he started playing with his toys again, was able to take the stairs easier, and we saw an increase in energy. He is eager to get up in the morning now, runs around in the yard again, is way more energetic and vocal now. Our experience with Animal Doctor and Librela has been great. We noticed improvement almost immediately. He is back to himself and much happier. We recommend Animal Doctor, they really take the time to listen to and address concerns, and it also feels more personal, like they really take time to get to know the pets and owners. We are 100% satisfied with the results of Librela.
Solensia Testimonials


Demeter had slowly gotten so she couldn’t get up on the desk or beds. Finally, she was having trouble getting into the higher kitty box. She had been on Gabapentin and was doing well but wasn’t the same. Within 24 to 48 hours (of the first injection of Solensia) I was changing the sheets and she jumped up on the bed and wanted to help. She hadn’t done that in four years! She was stretched out on the guest bed the next day. We take them outside with us and she walks the property and those walks had gotten shorter and shorter before Solensia. I was hesitant because it was somewhat new, but I talked to other people and decided to try it. Our experience with Solensia injections has been great and we are very satisfied with the results.

We have treated pets with extreme symptoms of lameness with success in providing comfort and improved quality of life. You can expect to see improvement within days of your veterinary visit.

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Animal Doctor Provider

Dr. Jennifer Arneson has over 25 years of experience managing lameness in pets. Her broad knowledge of the field has helped many pets lead happier and healthier lives.

Dr. Leigh Wacker has 7 years of experience managing lameness cases with many successful outcomes.

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