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Understanding Canine Arthritis

May 1, 2024

Arthritis is extremely common in our canine pals. About 25% of dogs get arthritis. Although it can afflict pups of any age, older canines are more likely to be afflicted. In fact, this illness affects over 80% of dogs older than eight years old. A local Fayetteville, NY veterinarian offers some basic information about this painful condition below.

Arthritis Basics

The most common kind of canine arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease. Human and canine osteoarthritis are extremely similar. It is basically a result of the deterioration of the soft tissues around the joints. As the tissues degenerate, it leads to bone-on-bone contact. This is of course extremely painful. Both humans and animals may experience significant discomfort from this condition.

Dogs suffering from arthritis may struggle to perform daily doggy activities such as playing, running, and jumping. Fido’s general health and enjoyment of life may also deteriorate. Unfortunately, this often causes a downward spiral. Your dog might become less active, which will result in a loss of muscle mass and a higher chance of obesity … both of which make it harder for him to stay active.

What Are the Signs That A Dog Has Arthritis?

Since arthritis symptoms usually appear gradually at first, it can be easy to overlook them. The first thing most people notice is usually a limp. Your pet could seem rigid and uneasy, especially when he first gets out of his doggy bed. Initially, as your pet begins to move around, the limp might get better. However, it will become more persistent as his condition worsens.

Your furry pal may have difficulty climbing stairs, getting in and out of cars, and even standing and sitting down. He may not want you to touch sensitive spots, so you may notice him flinching or trying to back away. A pooch that is in significant pain may even bite or snap.

Here are some more things to think about:

These symptoms can occasionally get worse very quickly. The reason for this is that cartilage doesn’t have any nerves. Fido may not really feel the full impact of his arthritis until the tissue has significantly degenerated.

Contact your Fayetteville, NY veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these warning indicators. For best results, it is essential to recognize and treat any issues as soon as they arise.

How Do You Care For An Arthritic Dog?

Every pet is different, so you’ll want to ask your veterinarian for specialized guidance. However, there are a few general rules to remember.

A solid fitness program is essential. It makes sense that you wouldn’t want to exert too much pressure on your pet. For most pups, short, frequent walks are optimal. Be sure to keep a close eye on Fido. Take him inside when you notice that he seems tired.

Regular pawdicures are also beneficial. Long nails can affect dogs’ ability to get proper traction and change the angle at which their toes hit the ground when running or walking. That adds extra strain to already-compromised bones and joints, which is the last thing you want. If you aren’t sure where or how to cut Fido’s claws, ask your vet to demonstrate.

Consider getting your furry pal pet ramps or stairs to help them climb in and out of the car and onto the bed.

Make sure your canine companion has a cozy bed to sleep in. Orthopedic beds are a great option because they offer great  support.

Controlling Fido’s weight is also crucial. Obesity will only make the issue worse. Talk to your vet for specific advice.

If your home has a floor instead of carpet, consider getting area rugs or runners, so your pet can get good traction. This will also provide a bit of cushion if your pup were to trip or fall.

The symptoms of arthritis can intensify in cold and damp conditions. Make sure Fido stays dry and warm when the weather is dismal!

Do you usually bathe Fido at home? You might want to consider getting him groomed by a pro. For Fido, getting in and out of the tub could be difficult. Groomers’ stations are often easier for dogs to reach.

Ask your Fayetteville, NY veterinarian for advice.

What Makes Dogs Get Arthritis?

The unavoidable consequences of wear and tear on the body is the main cause of arthritis. Fido’s joints get worn down from all the running, playing, and jumping he does throughout his doggy life. That cushioning tissue gradually gets less elastic and thinner with time.

However, other things can come into play. Fido could be more susceptible after an injury or infection. Excessive, insufficient, or the wrong kind of exercise can all exacerbate these issues. Dogs with health problems or poor exercise regimens in their early years may also be at a higher risk. Dogs’ bodies are under a lot of stress during their youth, as they grow so quickly.

Arthritis can occasionally be precipitated by other conditions as well, such diabetes.

How Is Arthritis in Dogs Treated?

Treatments are always given individually, taking each patient’s unique situation into account. There are four phases to arthritis. Fido has an early stage, called stage zero, during which he shows no signs of arthritis or risk factors. In stage 1, There is an elevated risk of arthritis, but the puppy’s examinations and testing reveal nothing unusual. In Stage 2, the arthritis is fairly mild. Stage three is moderate, and stage four is severe.

Once your pet has undergone a comprehensive evaluation, your veterinarian can talk you through your specific options.

  • Medications, such as NSAIDs can effectively reduce pain and inflammation.  
  • Surgery may be an option for some pups.
  • Laser therapy is a viable remedy. This simple, non-invasive process can support and boost the body’s natural healing processes.
  • Physical therapy can also be helpful.
  • There are many alternative therapies available, such as acupuncture and massage. Many of these work well with other treatment options, so it isn’t an either/or situation.
  • Swimming might be a good option for your dog as long as Fido enjoys it and is physically capable of it. Not every pooch is cut out for being in the water.
  • Supplements may also be helpful. Fish oil and glucosamine frequently benefit puppies with arthritis.

Additionally, new treatments are always being developed. Ask your vet for more information.

Are Some Breeds More Prone than Others to Get Arthritis?

While any dog can get arthritis, some breeds are more prone to the disease than others. It is quite common for a lot of larger dogs, such as the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Samoyed, Rottweiler And Boxer, to name a few.

If you have a mutt, you may want to get Fido a doggy DNA test. This is helpful in determining Fido’s susceptibility to many health conditions, including arthritis. Plus, it can be really interesting to find out what your pooch is! 

Make An Appointment At Our Fayetteville, NY Pet Clinic

Do you know or are you worried that your pet might develop arthritis? Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. As your local Fayetteville, NY veterinarian clinic, we are happy to help, and strive to provide excellent veterinary services.