Canine arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs and affects four out of five older dogs.
The condition can be inherited or caused by injury and is more common in large breeds of dogs such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, golden retriever and dachshunds due to their higher joint loads. It can also be the result of environmental factors such as heavy exercise, body weight or a lack of appropriate diets.
Your vet can diagnose your dog with arthritis by a history of symptoms and physical examination. They will assess the flexibility and movement of the joints and may suggest further tests such as x-rays to see the extent of joint damage.
If the X-rays indicate that your dog has arthritis they will discuss treatment options. This can include anti-inflammatory medicines, pain relief and dietary supplements to reduce inflammation and increase mobility.
Treating canine arthritis requires a long-term commitment by both you and your veterinarian. However, the good news is that many of the symptoms can be managed and, with early detection, a lot of pain can be relieved.
It’s vital to identify the signs of canine arthritis as early as possible. This will mean your pet can receive the best care and a higher quality of life, and you will be able to partner with your veterinarian in managing the disease.
Arthritis is a chronic condition that can cause pain, stiffness and loss of function in joints. There are many forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, which is the most common form and affects about a quarter of all dogs.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage surfaces of a joint wear away over time and causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the joint. It’s a progressive disease and, as the cartilage thins, it becomes more difficult for your dog to move the joint and is more likely to cause limb dysfunction.
In some cases, if your dog has severe arthritis, they will require surgery to remove bone fragments that are causing the pain and inflammation, or to replace damaged joints. This is a risky procedure but is highly successful in controlling arthritis and slowing its progression.
Dietary supplements can also be beneficial for arthritis patients, as they can help to repair cartilage, protect joints from further damage and increase joint mobility. They can be prescribed alongside medications or taken as a standalone supplement.
Hydrotherapy is another treatment that can be effective for arthritis and works by reducing inflammation and promoting normal joint function without adding strain on the joints. Physiotherapy is also a treatment option for arthritis and involves exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility.
There are also a range of holistic veterinary treatments that can be used to ease the symptoms of canine arthritis, such as acupuncture, laser therapy and massage therapy. These treatments are often carried out by rehabilitation centres that specialize in helping animals regain their mobility and strength.
As with all diseases in dogs, prevention is key to treating arthritis. Regular veterinary visits, a healthy diet and exercise, and reducing your dog’s body weight are all ways to help prevent the development of arthritis.