Does Your Dog Have Arthritis?
As dogs get older, many of them begin to develop arthritis. It is believed that as many as 25-30% of family pets are affected by arthritis. Arthritis often develops early on in a dog's life, but symptoms do not usually show up until they get older. Arthritis in dogs is common, and should not be overlooked as being a serious health issue. It can diminish a dog's lifespan and cause them a great deal of pain and unhappiness. Large dogs are more likely to get arthritis, but small dogs can also develop arthritis. Certain breeds have been found to be more prone to developing arthritis and can include: Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Collies.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a degenerative disease that causes a joint to become inflamed. It affects the cartilage, joint fluid, and bones associated with the joint. The loss of cartilage in the joint can result in bone on bone contact, which is very painful for your dog. Larger dogs are more susceptible to arthritis because they are heavier and may be overweight. This puts more pressure on their joints and skeletal system. There are several types of Canine Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, Immune-Mediated, Infective, and Idiopathic.
Causes of arthritis in the dog
Arthritis in a dog can be caused by a variety of factors. A traumatic injury, such as getting hit by a car or getting abused can cause damage to ligaments and tendons, resulting in arthritis. Obesity puts extra stress on the joint and will wear it down at an even faster rate. Another significant cause for arthritis in dogs is that their bones are not properly developed due to their genetics.
What are the signs your dog has arthritis?
There are many signs that your dog may have arthritis. Most of these symptoms can be easily identified by a change in behavior. If your dog seems reluctant to go for walks when he used to really enjoy them, or has difficulty climbing stairs, or getting in and out of vehicles, these are definite signs. Other noticeable symptoms of arthritis that your dog may display are limping or exhibiting pain when touched in certain spots. Your dog may also appear to favor one leg. Many of these symptoms of pain will be more noticeable in the morning or after your dog has taken a nap.
Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help your arthritic companion! Dogs who have problems with arthritis can indeed become more comfortable. Weight management and exercise are some of the most important things you can do for a dog with arthritis. Other remedies, such as providing comfortable sleeping places, and putting warm clothing on them in cold months can help. Giving your pet a massage can also help to relive arthritis pain. Some vets may recommend a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, but many vets now feel the side effects from these drugs may not be worth the risk. You may want to seek out an all-natural pain reliever that has no risk of debilitating side effects. If you can develop an effective treatment plan for your dog, you can reduce the pain from arthritis and allow them to live a happier life!
Photo Credit: EuroMagic