Does My Dog Have Arthritis?
Osteoarthritis (arthritis) is a common condition in dogs, particularly in older and larger breeds. Arthritis can be very painful and uncomfortable, as any dog owner who suffers with the condition will know. Although there is no cure for this diagnosis, identifying the condition early on means you can manage the condition to give your dog the best quality of life.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis in simple terms is ‘inflammation of the joints’ and is a common problem for many dogs and humans! Bones in a healthy dog’s joint have a smooth surface, this allows them to slide past each other when moving. However, a joint suffering with arthritis has an uneven worn surface. This means the bones cannot slide past each other and instead, rub together, causing pain and swelling.
What can cause arthritis in dogs?
Osteoarthritis is most commonly found in older dogs, but the condition can also develop in puppies who suffer with bone and joint development issues.
But what causes arthritis in dogs? In most cases arthritis is caused by normal wear and tear, leading to the condition later in life. However, arthritis can also be caused by genetics, as sadly some breeds are born with an increased risk of developing the condition. are some of the breeds more likely to be affected by arthritis. Injuries can also lead to arthritis later in a dog’s life.
How do I know if my dog has arthritis?
If you suspect your dog has arthritis, it is recommended you take them to the vets. If your vet sees signs of Osteoarthritis, they may be able to offer a diagnosis with an examination. However, to fully investigate the signs of arthritis, the vet will usually refer the dog for further tests and x-rays.
Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include:
- Reluctance to play, run or jump
- Narrowing of the hips and weakness in the back legs
- Swollen joints
- Low energy levels
- Walking slowly on walks
- Changes in behaviour
- Pain when touched
How are dogs treated for arthritis?
Dogs can be treated for arthritis in many ways, the most common is pain relief, however if the arthritis is severe, surgery is a possible option.
Pain Relief: Anti-inflammatory drugs are typically supplied to reduce swelling and pain.
Joint Supplements: your vet will be able to advise on a suitable joint supplement for your dog, which can be used at the same time as most other medicines.
Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy can be an extremely useful treatment for dogs with arthritis, as it provides exercise without putting too much strain on the dog’s joints. Speak to your local vet if you think Hydrotherapy would be the right treatment for your dog.
Surgery: As a last resort, joint surgery may be a suitable treatment for dogs whose arthritic pain is extreme and uncontrollable with pain relief.
Can I prevent my dog getting arthritis?
Unfortunately, age-related arthritis in dogs cannot be prevented. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of your dog developing arthritis.
Keep your dog at a good healthy weight, so no extra strain is put on their joints. Feeding your dog, a good quality food will help them grow correctly and ensure they receive all the nutrients they need. Finally, regular exercise is imperative to keeping your dog fit and healthy. Strengthening their muscles will reduce the strain on their joints. If you are concerned that your dog may have arthritis, then speak to your vet for a professional opinion.
Barking Mad, the UK’s leading home dog boarding provider, assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, they will always have an out of hours service available.
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