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Canine Arthritis: Essential Information for Pet Owners

Arthritis is a very prevalent condition among dogs. Around a quarter of our beloved canine friends are impacted. Arthritis can impact dogs of all ages, but it is more often noted in older dogs. Actually, around 80 percent of dogs who are eight years old or older have this painful condition. Keep reading as a Live Oak, FL veterinarian discusses this uncomfortable condition.

Exploring Canine Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of canine arthritis. There are many similarities between osteoarthritis in dogs and humans. This condition can cause significant discomfort for both us humans and our furry companions. This happens when the soft tissues around joints break down, causing the bones to rub against each other.

Arthritis can be quite uncomfortable for dogs, making it difficult for them to participate in activities such as running, jumping, and playing. This often leads to a decline in Fido’s well-being and overall enjoyment of life. There’s also a bit of a downward spiral here, in many cases. Your furry friend may become less active, which can result in a decrease in muscle mass and a higher likelihood of obesity. These things make it hard for him to stay fit, which only worsens the issue.

What Are The Signs A Dog Has Arthritis?

Your veterinarian is the ultimate authority here, of course. However, you’ll want to keep an eye out, especially as your pup ages. Arthritis often starts off gradually, so it can be easy to miss the symptoms.

Here are the key ones:

  • Limping
  • Lameness
  • Trouble Laying Down Or Getting Back Up
  • Not Wanting Anyone Touching The Joints Affected
  • Muscle Loss
  • Reduced Interest In Play
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Licking Or Chewing On Areas That May Be Painful

 

It’s crucial to keep in mind that symptoms may occasionally come on very rapidly. That’s because cartilage does not have nerves. Fido may not feel the full effects of arthritis until the tissue has really deteriorated.

If you notice any of these red flags, contact your Live Oak, FL, veterinarian right away. Identifying and addressing problems early on is essential for achieving the best possible outcomes when treating medical issues in pets.

How Can I Best Care For My Dog With Arthritis?

All of our furry patients are different, so specific care requirements will vary a bit from pup to pup. Fido’s age, size, and overall health will all come into play here. Your veterinarian can provide you specific guidance. That said, we can offer a few general guidelines.

  • Give your beloved pet a cozy bed to relax in as he’s dreaming of squirrels and bacon. Orthopedic beds are a great option!
  • A good doggy diet will also factor in. Obesity definitely will not help! For individualized guidance, speak with your veterinarian.
  • Consider adding runners or area rugs to your floors, to give Fido better traction.
  • Arthritis symptoms can be exacerbated by cold and wet weather. Make sure Fido stays cozy and protected during gloomy weather! Cold isn’t a big issue here in Florida, but those damp chilly days may be hard on your pet.
  • Doggy workouts are very important. It is essential to establish a proper exercise routine for your furry friend. Regular and frequent walks are perfect for most pups. Be sure to keep a close eye on Fido’s behavior and bring him inside if he seems tired.
  • Regularly tending to your pet’s paws is also essential. Long nails can interfere with your dog’s ability to get good traction. It can also alter the angle of their toes against the ground while walking or running, further exacerbating the issue.
  • You might want to consider getting pet ramps or stairs to help your furry friend easily get in and out of the car and on and off the bed, if allowed.
  • Consider taking your pooch to a professional groomer. Fido may find it difficult to get in and out of the tub. Groomers have stations that are more accessible for pups.

Seek advice from your Live Oak, FL veterinarian for personalized advice.

Why Do Dogs Get Arthritis?

Arthritis is commonly a result of the natural wear and tear that occurs in the body over time. Fido’s joints can become worn down from all that joyful doggy running, playing, and jumping. As time passes, the cushioning tissue gradually loses thickness and elasticity. 

That isn’t the only possible reason, though. Fido may be at a higher risk after an infection or injury. Improper exercise routines can exacerbate these issues, whether it’s too much, too little, or the wrong kind of exercise. Dogs that have had health issues or insufficient exercise routines during their early years may be more susceptible. In some cases, arthritis can also be triggered by other illnesses, like diabetes.

What Are The Treatment Options For Canine Arthritis?

There are many treatment options available. In the end, the choices will depend on how serious Fido’s condition is, as treatments are always tailored to suit individual circumstances. Once your vet has completed a thorough evaluation of your beloved pet, they will be able to have a detailed conversation with you about the options.

Here are a few possibilities:

  • Laser therapy can be a remarkably efficient remedy for arthritis in dogs.
  • Physical therapy can also be quite helpful.
  • Medications like NSAIDs can effectively reduce pain and inflammation.  
  • Surgery may be a possible treatment for some dogs.
  • Other options could include practices such as massage and acupuncture.
  • Swimming is helpful to some dogs, as long as your furry companion enjoys it and is physically capable. This is by no means a universal recommendation, though: not all dogs are cut out for it!
  • Supplements can also offer support. Possible options include alpha-lipoic acid, avocado and soybean extracts called unsaponifiables (ASU), Boswellia serrata extract, green tea extract, green-lipped mussel (Perna), hyaluronic acid, manganese, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and undenatured type-ii collagen, chondroitin, eggshell membrane, and glucosamine.

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

Do Some Dog Breeds Get Arthritis More Than Others?

While arthritis can impact dogs of all breeds, certain breeds may be more prone to developing this condition. Many larger dogs are at high risk. That includes the following pooches:

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

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

Conclusion: Arthritis is very common in dogs, particularly seniors. This happens as the soft tissues that cushion dogs’ bones and joints degrade over time. As the tissue degenerates, it causes bone-on-bone friction, which in turn leads to inflammation, reduced mobility, and significant pain. Fortunately, there are treatment options available.

Book An Appointment At Our Live Oak, FL Pet Clinic 

Do you have any concerns about your pet potentially developing arthritis? Feel free to contact us, your local pet clinic, if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to assist you as your local Live Oak, FL veterinary clinic!

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