Joint problems

Joint problems

Canine osteoarthritis

If your dog doesn’t jump to greet you on your return home each evening, there may be a good reason – he or she may have developed canine osteoarthritis.

Which dogs are at risk of canine osteoarthritis?

A chronic, degenerative joint disease that makes movement difficult and painful, osteoarthritis mainly strikes dogs in their middle and senior years. However, younger animals can also be affected. In fact, studies show that approximately 20% of dogs have the condition in some form and, even though they are less prone, cats can also suffer from it.

It can be heart-breaking to see your once lively, always active best friend begin to limp, or notice his or her obvious pain or stiffness when moving around. There is no cure for osteoarthritis. However, if it is treated promptly, there is a great deal that you and your veterinary surgeon can do to decrease your pet’s discomfort and increase his or her mobility.

What are the early warning signs of osteoarthritis in dogs?

  • Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs
  • Reluctance to jump onto the sofa or into the car
  • An overall decrease in activity, especially play
  • Resting more than usual
  • Slowness in getting up from a lying position
  • Dogs that “bunny hop” with the hind legs, rather than running normally
  • Slow or stiff movements upon waking, after a rest, or in cold weather which improves with continued movement
  • Beginning to limp
  • Swollen joint(s) that is/are warm to the touch and have a limited or painful range of movement
  • Licking at a joint
    Personality change – your pet no longer likes to be touched or played with
  • If you notice any of the signs above, don’t just think that your pet is “slowing down with age”. Take him or her to see your vet. The faster osteoarthritis is first diagnosed and treated, the better your pet’s quality of life will be.

    What causes osteoarthritis in dogs?

    There are many causes of osteoarthritis in dogs, but practically all can be grouped into two main categories:

    1. Abnormal stress on normal joints

  • An injury that damages a joint
  • “Wear and tear” where joints are subjected to repeated loads or stress
  • Obesity: an excessive load is put on joints
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