Does your Dog Suffer from Arthritis?
Unfortunately, canine joints age just like ours do. In fact arthritis affects one of every five dogs sometime during their lifetime. Thinning of the joint cartilage can lead to joint deterioration, reduced mobility, and pain. The most common form of arthritis is called osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
Arthritis is a joint problem that reduces mobility and causes pain and can be caused by various factors, including injury, infection, the body’s own immune system, or developmental problems. Joints normally form smooth connections between bones but arthritis involves thinning of joint cartilage buildup of fluid inside the joint, and the formation of new bony growths within the joint. Over time, this leads to reduced joint mobility as well as pain.
Signs of arthritis include stiffness after exercise, loss of muscle mass, swelling, and having a harder time walking, getting up on all four legs, climbing, and jumping. Most of these changes occur slowly over time and therefore can be hard to spot by some owners, especially if it is assumed that their dog is “just getting older”. Bringing your dog in for an annual checkup can help us identify clinical signs early, often with a combination of a complete physical exam and x-rays.
Supportive care is important and treatment may range from simple exercises to pain medication or even surgery or other types of treatment therapies. Regular, moderate amounts of exercise help delay canine arthritis, as a joint in motion will generally stay in motion. Low-impact exercises, such as swimming or even using an underwater treadmill are excellent forms of exercise for the arthritic canine. Diets often help as getting your dog to lose weight decreases the load on his or her joints.
Pain medication, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Carprofen or Galliprant, may help relieve arthritic pain but should never be given to your dog without first talking to a veterinarian. These medications are commonly prescribed by veterinarians to reduce pain and inflammation but can have side effects that should first be taken into consideration. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been used as diet supplements to help manage arthritis in dogs and other animals with good success as well.
If you have an animal that you suspect is suffering from arthritis, give us a call at Copper Hill Animal Clinic, 661-296-8848.
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