Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention
“Develop a good relationship with your veterinarian and
take your dog for regular checkups. A good vet contributes to a healthy pet.”
Canine arthritis may affect your dog later in life, much like osteoarthritis affects humans. However, this does not mean that arthritis only affects the old. Younger dogs can also develop this disease. As a loving dog owner, you should learn as much about this condition as possible.
Overview/Snapshot of the Disease
Like human arthritis, arthritis in dogs is a degenerative joint disease that leads to stiffness in the joints and muscles. The condition is caused by the loss of cartilage and the death of cells that produce cartilage.
Of the many dog health problems you must watch for, arthritis is extremely painful and often requires veterinarian intervention.
Arthritis restricts the normal life of a dog, so it is very important that you seek timely medical attention.
Symptoms of Canine Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a disease that is very hard to cure in advanced stages. Therefore, it is imperative to diagnose the disease in its early stages. If diagnosed early, it is possible to reverse the symptoms and minimize your dog’s suffering.
Following are some of the symptoms associated with this condition:
- You will notice your usually active dog now sleeps the whole day or is usually sulking in a corner. This is not because your dog has suddenly become lazy, but because it is feeling pain in its limbs.
- If your dog cannot stand on its hind feet it may be suffering from arthritis.
- If your dog is well built and you notice a sudden loss in weight or muscularity, it could be due to arthritis.
- Dogs that suffer from arthritis will stop running around or being as active as they were before. This would lead to the loss of their physique and it is a likely sign of arthritis.
- Your dog has trouble climbing stairs.
- Your dog has developed a lame walk or limp.
- If your dog has pain in the joints accompanied by fever, it is a likely the sign of the advanced stage of dog arthritis.
Arthritis in dogs is often an age related disease. Depending on the breed, your dog has a better than 60% chance of developing arthritis between the age of 7 and 11. If your dog is prone to develop hip dysplasia, most common in larger breeds, they are more likely to suffer from arthritis in their later years.
Following are some additional causes to consider:
- Canine Hip Dysplasia, a genetic condition, often leads to arthritis if left untreated.
- An imbalanced diet is thought to be one of the main causes of arthritis. A diet that does not contain proper amount of minerals, vitamins and proteins could lead to arthritis.
- Injuries to joints, ligaments or bones can lead to arthritis later on in your dog’s life.
- Canine obesity can lead to early onset arthritis.
Treatment for Canine Arthritis
If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, your veterinarian will likely recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin or any number of prescription options. Your dog might also receive a prescription or non-prescription chondroprotective agent to help protect the cartilage while is trying to repair itself.
While most people have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin, there are also brand-name non-prescription chondroprotective agents that might be part of your veterinarian’s treatment plan. Low impact exercise, including walking and swimming, may also help.
In advanced stages or extreme cases of canine arthritis or hip dysplasia, surgery might be the only option to help alleviate your dog’s pain.
Prevention of Canine Arthritis
Every dog will not suffer from canine arthritis. By ensuring that your dog eats a nutritional and balanced diet, you will reduce its chances of getting arthritis. Regular exercise and proper weight management can also help to prevent this painful condition.
By keeping a close watch on your dog’s health and by taking immediate action when necessary, you can help limit or prevent many canine health problems and promote a long and healthy life.