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Understanding Canine Arthritis: Essential Information for Pet Owners

May 1, 2024

Arthritis is a very widespread condition among our canine buddies. Around a quarter of our beloved barking buddies are impacted. Arthritis can impact pups of all ages, although it is more commonly seen in older dogs. In fact, around 80 percent of dogs aged eight and over suffer from this condition. Keep reading as a Lake Echo, NS veterinarian discusses this arthritis in dogs.

Exploring Canine Arthritis

Arthritis in dogs and people is essentially the same. This condition can cause significant discomfort for both us and our canine friends. This happens when the soft tissues around joints break down, causing the bones to rub against each other.

While there are many kinds of arthritis, osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most commonly observed type of canine arthritis.

Arthritis can be quite painful for dogs, making it difficult for them to participate in activities such as running, jumping, and playing. In addition, it may contribute to a deterioration of Fido’s well-being and overall enjoyment of life. Your furry friend may become less energetic, which can result in a loss of muscle tone and a higher likelihood of weight gain.

There are four stages of arthritis. Fido also has a stage called stage zero, where there are no signs or risk factors for arthritis.

In stage one, the pup’s tests and screenings indicate no abnormalities; however, there is still a potential risk present. Stage two is mild arthritis, and stage three is moderate arthritis. Stage four is severe arthritis.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Arthritis?

Given the gradual onset of arthritis, it is often possible to miss the early symptoms. Limping is a common one. At first, the limp may gradually improve as your pet begins to move around. As his condition progresses, it will become more and more apparent.

Fido may have trouble getting in and out of cars, going up and down stairs, and even sitting and standing. Your pup may also be hesitant to allow you to touch areas that are causing him pain, and may indicate this by flinching or trying to move away. Dogs experiencing intense pain may even resort to snapping or biting.

Here are a few more things to look for:

  • Stiffness
  • Reduced interest in play
  • Exhaustion
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal
  • Trouble getting up and down
  • Licking/Biting sore spots

It’s crucial to understand that dogs can occasionally deteriorate quickly. That’s because cartilage does not have nerve endings. Fido may not really feel that arthritic pain until the tissue has really deteriorated.

If you notice any of these warning signs, make sure to get in touch with your Lake Echo, NS vet right away. Identifying and addressing problems early on is essential for achieving the best possible results.

Caring For An Arthritic Dog 

If your pooch has arthritis, you’ll want to get some specific care advice from your Lake Echo, NS vet. However, there are some general guidelines.

It is essential to establish a proper exercise routine for your furry friend. Regular and frequent walks are perfect for most dogs. Take care not to overdo it! Keep a close eye on Fido and bring him inside if he seems tired. Swimming can be a suitable option for certain dogs, as long as your furry companion enjoys it and is physically capable. Some puppies may not feel at ease in the water.

Keeping up with regular pawdicures is also important. Long nails can pose challenges for your dog’s traction and affect the alignment of his toes against the ground.

You might want to consider getting your canine companion some pet ramps or stairs to make it easier for him to get in and out of the car and access the bed, if allowed.

Make sure that your canine companion has a cozy bed to relax in. Orthopedic beds are a fantastic option because of the enhanced support they offer.

Managing Fido’s weight is crucial. Obesity will only exacerbate the issue, and will put your furry pal at risk for many other issues. Consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Consider adding runners or area rugs to your floors to elevate the visual appeal of your space. Fido will have a better grip and will be better safeguarded against any unexpected slips or falls.

Arthritis symptoms can be aggravated by cold and wet weather. Make sure Fido stays cozy and protected during gloomy weather!

If you currently bathe your pooch at home, it may be worth thinking about bringing him to a professional groomer. Fido may find it hard to navigate in and out of the tub. Groomers have stations that are designed to be easily accessible for pups.

Seek advice from your veterinarian in Newburgh, NY for personalized guidance.

What Causes Arthritis In Dogs?

Arthritis is caused by natural wear and tear in the body. Fido’s joints eventually wear down from all the running, playing, and jumping. Over time, the cushioning tissue gradually loses thickness and elasticity.

However, there are other factors that come into play. Fido may be at a higher risk after an infection or injury. Improper exercise routines can exacerbate these issues. Too much, too little, or the wrong kind of exercise can all take a tool. Dogs that have had imp exercise routines during their early years may be more susceptible to certain risks. Puppies experience significant growth during their early years, which can stress their bodies considerably.

In some cases, arthritis can be triggered by other illnesses, such as diabetes.

What Are The Treatment Options For Canine Arthritis?

There are many treatments to consider, with more being developed and trialed all the time. In the end, the options will depend on how serious and advanced Fido’s condition is. Treatments are always tailored to suit individual circumstances. Once your vet has completed a thorough evaluation of your canine companion, they will be able to have a detailed conversation with you about the various available options.

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Medications like NSAIDs can effectively reduce pain and inflammation.  
  • In certain circumstances, surgery may be considered.
  • Laser therapy may be a viable option. This procedure enhances the body’s natural healing abilities in a painless, noninvasive, and very gentle manner. Additionally, it has proven to be a remarkably efficient remedy for arthritis in dogs.
  • Physical therapy can also be quite helpful.
  • Other alternative options could include practices such as massage and acupuncture.
  • Supplements can also be helpful. Glucosamine and fish oil can be helpful for arthritic pups.

New treatments are constantly being developed. Consult your veterinarian for further details.

Are Certain Dog Breeds More Likely to Get Arthritis?

While arthritis can impact dogs of all breeds, some breeds are more prone to developing this condition. Many larger dogs often exhibit this behavior.

  • St. Bernard
  • Newfoundland
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Dachshund
  • Rottweiler Samoyed
  • Boxer
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retriever
  • English Mastiff
  • Chow Chow 
  • Springer Spaniel

Book An Appointment At Our Lake Echo, NS Pet Clinic In

Do you have any concerns about your pet potentially having arthritis? Feel free to contact us, your local pet clinic, if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to assist you at your local Lake Echo, NS veterinary clinic!