Dog Arthritis

(Degenerative Joint Disease)

Arthritis in dogs is a very common, often overlooked condition that unfortunately effects many of our canine friends

There are lots of treatment options available and many ways we can ensure a good quality of life for effected dogs

So what is Canine Arthritis?

Arthritis or DJD, is a common condition in dogs, with over 80% of dogs over 8 years old suffering with it. It refers to inflammation of the joints caused by an incongruity (such as dysplasia), wear and tear, or from injury. Dog can suffer from as young as 6 months of age although it it typically recognised as an older dog complaint. Arthritis causes pain, discomfort and stiffness. In dogs with arthritis, the cartilage within a joint (hip, elbow etc.) starts to change or becomes damaged, making it rough and causing the bones to rub together. This rubbing and chafing will be uncomfortable and painful. This inflammation then causes further damage to the cartilage. As a direct result of this increased friction, new bone forms around the joint, making it stiffer and more difficult to move (known as a degenerative joint disease).

What Causes Canine Arthritis?

Arthritis is more commonly a problem in older dogs, but this condition can develop from an early age due to problems with bone and joint development, which is why it is crucial to make sure you do not over-exercise your puppy.  Depending on the cause, arthritis may affect one joint or any number of your dog's joints. Most cases develop as a result of abnormal rubbing within the joint caused by:

  • Joint instability (e.g. after ligament damage)
  • Damage to or abnormal cartilage development
  • Damage caused by trauma (e.g. fractures)

What are the signs my dog has Arthritis?

Signs of arthritis can vary, and is individual to each dogs. Common indicators to look out for are;

  • Reduced activity level
  • Lameness, stiffness or difficulty rising (especially after long periods of rest)
  • Worsening signs when cold or damp (barometric pressure change)
  • Licking at the joint/s (signs of brown saliva staining)
  • Swelling or heat around a joint
  • Changes in behaviour such as increased irritability
  • Less tolerant to grooming or handling
  • Difficulty climbing stairs or navigating steps
  • Muscle atrophy (wastage around effected joints)

How Long Can A Dog Live With Arthritis

Arthritis itself is not a life threatening condition but it can significantly impact the quality of the dogs life

Early intervention is the best way to get ahead of the signs and symptoms. Physical therapy like Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy are integral at optimising the muscle and mobility of the dog to ensure they stay as comfortable as possible

Treatment options include medication, weight management, physical therapy, lifestyle adaptation and exercise modification. Most dogs need treatment for the duration of their lives

At Operation K9 we advise initially you should always consult a veterinarian if your dog is displaying any of these symptoms

We require cooperation from your vet to treat

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