Recognizing and Treating Dog Arthritis
Arthritis in dogs resembles arthritis found in humans. While there are many forms of canine arthritis, the most common one is osteoarthritis. Similar to arthritis in humans, it occurs in dogs because the protective cartilage around the joints wears away, exposing bare bone.
This exposed bone grinds against other exposed bone, resulting in inflammation which further degrades the joint’s protective cartilage and synovial fluid. The joint inflames, and causes pain as a result.
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent arthritis in dogs, and different treatment methods you can discuss with your vet if you notice signs of dog arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
You know your pet better than anyone else. A good rule of thumb is: if they are acting strange or unlike themselves, something is probably going on that will warrant a call or visit to the vet.
It’s always best to detect issues or illness early; the earlier you can start treatment, the better the outcome for your four-legged friend.
Some common signs of arthritis in dogs include:
- Being inactive or lethargic (especially for dogs that are usually energetic)
- Walking with a limp, or looking “stiff” while standing and/or moving around
- Showing pain when being touched or held in certain areas (especially on or near joints)
- Weight gain from not exercising
- Weight loss from losing muscle mass due to inactivity
- Being unable to walk up or down stairs, or jump onto furniture
Symptoms will look different in each dog, as arthritis will manifest differently depending on the breed, body type, and level of activity they typically exert. If anything about your dog seems off, keep a close eye on them and reach out to your vet.
Causes of Dog Arthritis
Dog arthritis most often affects older dogs as a result of the aging process. However, inactive and overweight dogs are also likely to become arthritic. Younger dogs may develop arthritis if they sustain an injury such as a broken bone, or if they have a bacterial infection.
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible than others to developing canine arthritis. Be watchful with breeds like St. Bernard’s, German shepherds, bulldogs, beagles, types of hounds, Rottweilers, terriers, spaniels, pugs, and golden retrievers.
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Prevention and Treatment of Dog Arthritis
In order to prevent or delay the onset of canine arthritis, keep your dog fit and healthy. Walk and play with them, and feed them a lean diet of quality dog food. Certain supplements containing chondroitin, glucosamine, spirulina, devil’s claw and other nutrients may also help to prevent or delay arthritis.
Unfortunately, the exact reasons for and causes of dog arthritis are not completely known, and despite your best efforts, your dog may still develop some form arthritis.
The good news is that there are several forms of arthritis treatment available. You may purchase dog arthritis medicine, which will help reduce the level of inflammation and pain. Be careful that your dog does not become allergic to the medicine or develop other side effects.
You may also wish to put an arthritis dog harness on your dog. The arthritis dog harness is usually fitted to the bottom half of your pet, and it eases the leg strain of standing, walking, and defecating.
DMSO dog arthritis treatment, available by prescription only, may be another option to consider. DMSO stands for dimethyl sulfoxide, and has been shown to be effective in treating canine arthritis, relieving arthritic pain on contact. It also helps stimulate the immune system. Ask your veterinarian for more information.