What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs
Clinical signs would include lameness and mobility difficulties such as jumping, getting in and out of their bed or climbing stairs. Sometimes owners report a change in behaviour, lethargy, some react to the pain but shying away from touch or becoming more aggressive. The signs and symptoms are not always obvious and can be as subtle as slightly longer periods of rest and a reluctance to go for a walk.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs include:
- Reluctance to jump onto furniture or into the car
- Slow to get up after lying down
- Stiffness after exercise
- âSlowing downâ â less willing to go for walks or play
- Change in personality â becoming grumpy or irritable
Maintain A Healthy Weight To Ease Arthritis Symptoms
Just a few extra pounds can make a big difference in our pets health, and currently over half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Extra weight is especially harmful to dogs with joint problems such as arthritis, since that added weight makes the pain and inflammation worse.
Extra weight places extra pressure on their joints and makes it more difficult for them to stay mobile and get proper exercise. Keeping your dog trim will help ease their arthritis pain. Keep your arthritic dog fit by sticking to a regular low impact exercise routine and cutting calories if needed.
In addition to arthritis, obesity can cause a number of health issues, like kidney, liver, or heart problems as well as diabetes. ASPCA Pet Insurance
Managing Arthritis In Dogs
The first step in managing arthritis is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough clinical examination. In order to accurately diagnose your dogs condition, a general anaesthetic and radiographs will usually be required to determine exactly what is happening in your dogs joints. A multi targeted plan can then be put together for his/ her individual situation.
To help your dog be happy and enjoy life again, there are 4 important areas that we will focus on:
1. Weight management
This is the most important aspect of managing any animal with arthritis. Overweight animals will place proportionally more weight on their joints and therefore cause more localised inflammation and irritation to the joints- which in turn can hasten the progression of arthritis. Please ask us about our free weight loss clinic
2. Exercise management
Exercise is a very important part of managing arthritis. Regular controlled exercise is extremely beneficial for keeping the joints mobile and the muscles working well. Uncontrolled exercise can place undue pressure on ligaments and result in permanent damage to the joints unfortunately the tennis ball may have to be retired.
3. Home comforts/ environment changes
4. Veterinary treatments
The different treatments that can be offered include:
- Pain relief through heat / cold, acupuncture, massage, TENS.
- Stimulation of proprioception through specific balancing exercises.
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How To Strengthen An Old Dogs Hind Legs
As your dog ages, weakening legs can contribute to the discomfort and limitations created by arthritis. While some weakening is a natural part of aging, you can help strengthen your dogs legsand maintain that strengththrough simple lifestyle habits and by being careful not to overwork your dog and increase its risk of injury.
Regular walks, for example, are one of the best ways to strengthen your dogs hind legs. These walks dont have to be long, and you shouldnt walk for so long that your dog becomes labored or even limping. A little exercise can go a long way. You can also massage the muscles in your dogs hind legs to promote blood flow and recovery from these walks.
If your home has slippery indoor surfaces, such as wood or tile floors, your dog might also benefit from grippy shoes that aid in walking and maintaining traction on the floor. Better footing can sometimes promote hind length strength. At the very least, it will reduce the risk of injury.
Could Your Dog Have Arthritis
Dogs of all types may be affected by arthritis pain.
Arthritis pain is often caused by hip dysplasia or various other physical conditions Excess weight can often contribute to arthritis and make it worse Dogs age faster than humans and arthritis pain will affect them much earlier in life than is often recognised Both large and small dogs should be screened for arthritis.
Small dogs are often not diagnosed because physical changes can be more difficult for pet owners to recognise.
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How Can My Dog Develop Arthritis
There are many reasons that a dog can get arthritis, including external factors like the quality of their diet, how much exercise theyre getting, breed, injury, and their age.
- Joint injuries. If a joint gets injured by a torn ligament or an infected wound, for example, then damage can occur inside the joint. This sets off a vicious circle of inflammation which can result in arthritis in an otherwise healthy joint.
- Being overweight. If your dog has been overweight, their joints have to cope with the extra load, which, over time, can cause increased wear and tear on the joints.
- Old age. As arthritis may be caused by wear and tear, older dogs may get arthritis even if they have always been slim, fit and healthy. Whilst this may be seen as a normal part of ageing, it doesnt mean that we shouldnt treat it to prevent it from getting worse over time.
Pet Stairs For Beds Or Cars
I should have prepared for this day sooner because it happened out of the blue. One day, my dog wouldnt hop into the backseat and he had to get lifted into the car.
After several weeks of research, I bought 2 styles and tested them out. One style was made of plastic with carpeted steps and the other style was folding steps that attach to the back of my SUV. I bought both styles with the full intention of returning the one my dog didnt like. Turns out, both styles are perfect for different reasons and I kept both.
You can see my full review here: Car Steps for Dogs and you can watch my dog using both styles in this video:
Why I Use the Foldable Pet Steps
When transporting my dog in the back of my jeep, I use these: fold-able stairs style and they were friendly on my budget. If youre looking for something even more substantial, check out the price and reviews on this product: High End Dog Stairs that hooks to the hatch latch.
I was very worried that my 90 pound dog wouldnt acclimate, but he did a great job after about 10 or so tries. Now he uses them without hesitation, but I still stay by his side and guide him.
I keep the foldable stairs right in my SUV and they also come in handy at the dog wash. My dog will not use the steep, skinny ramp that leads him into the high tub for his bath, but I can bring the fold-able steps inside and hell use them. Hallelujah!
When I Use the Plastic Pet Steps
Both sets of stairs have helped him tremendously.
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A Big Word For A Little Injection: Glycosaminoglycans
A name many will be familiar with is Adequan. Others here in Australia include Cartrophen, Pentosan, and Synovin. These drugs are described as disease modifying osteoarthritis drugs but are actually more like nutriceuticals than drugs. They are very safe and pets are very unlikely to experience any side effects.
Theyre also relatively inexpensive. Interestingly, the exact way that they work has yet to be elucidated. There are also no big, well designed clinical trials that confirm their effectiveness . Having said that, there is loads and loads of anecdotal evidence amongst vets and dog owners, and I believe I have seen great results in many patients.
The usual course of injections with the products I use in practice are one injection a week for four weeks, then one injection every three to six months, depending on the patient.
Give Your Dog A Daily Massage
Massage therapy is great for arthritis and some pet boutiques charge big money for a dog massage. You can do this for free! Use long gentle strokes and always push blood toward your dogs heart. Massage gets blood flowing to the arthritic area and can reduce pain and stiffness for several hours.
You can actually do this massage in combination with the next suggestion which is heat therapy.
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Arthritis Affects 4 Out Of 5 Dogs
Canine arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in dogs and affects four out of five older dogs.
While it can be prevalent in specific breeds – particularly those who have been selectively bred to be large and heavy – it can occur in dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds.
Looking back, I wish I’d had better awareness around the early signs and symptoms so I could have sought help much earlier.
But now, six months after starting discussions with vets and trying different medications and adjustments to Sammy’s life, he’s much more comfortable and has a better quality of life which is the most important thing.
The best tip I can give, is to seek veterinary advice as early as possible. For too long I said to myself – and others – how Sammy was ‘slowing down’ and ‘getting older’. Of course, he was – but these changes can also be early signs of arthritis. Signs that are easy to miss if you assume that your dog is simply getting older… The earlier you start making changes, the better!
Tips & Products To Help Your Aging Or Arthritic Dog
These tips and products listed below have helped to improve the comfort level, quality of life, and ability to get around for many older and arthritic dogs. Have a look and try them out you may well be surprised at just how peppy your old dog becomes!
You may notice that I dont mention medications in this article. Its not because they aren’t important and helpful, because they are often very important and helpful. Ive done this because medications arent the only important and helpful components to helping older dogs with their pain and mobility issues.
You can read more about what supplements and medications can be helpful with arthritis and joint pain here. The simple, yet safe and effective, tips and products I mention below arent well-known and all too often overlooked. For the benefit of all aging and arthritic dogs, that needs to change.
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What Are The Causes Of Dog Arthritis
Several factors can contribute to your dogs damaged joints and cartilage. These include:
- Age: Older dogs tend to develop arthritis as their joints begin to weaken and wear out.
- Injuries: Frequent injuries, such as fractures or ruptured ligaments, can increase a dogs chance of damaging its joints and cartilage.
- Size & Weight: Large, heavy dogs are more prone to arthritis. The added weight puts more pressure and stress on the joints which speed up their deterioration.
- Genetics: Some breeds of dogs are more likely to develop arthritis because of body structure and development.
Does Cbd Oil Help Arthritis In Dogs
Early research has shown that CBD could be an effective all natural treatment for arthritis. Studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can greatly benefit dogs with arthritis.
Does walking help a dog with arthritis?
Walking is great for arthritic dogs. Its how you go about it that matters. Give your dog the same amount of exercise each day. This helps build their muscles to better support the joints.
Is CBD oil good for dogs with arthritis pain?
Can CBD Oil help my dogs arthritis?
Can you give dogs aspirin for pain?
Vets usually prescribe aspirin for dogs with osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with these conditions and can offer your dog relief from symptoms.
What over the counter drug can you give a dog for arthritis?
The best over-the-counter arthritis medicine for dogs is Glucosamine . Glucosamine is a long-term treatment for joint pain associated with arthritis.
What are home remedies for dog arthritis?
The best home remedy for arthritis in dogs is a balanced diet and regular exercise. One of the most effective home remedies to reduce the pain caused by arthritis in dogs is omega-3. Therefore, you should choose dry feed thats rich in omega-3 or supplement your dogs existing diet with omega-3 capsules.
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Around 4 Out Of Every 10 Dogs Have Signs Of Arthritis Paindo You Know How To Recognise The Symptoms
Osteoarthritis Checklist: Could your dog have osteoarthritis?
Think about your dogs activity in the past week:
- Is your dog showing signs of OA-related pain?
- Lagging behind on walks?
- Slow to rise after resting after exercise ?
- Difficulty with stairs?
It is therefore important for pet owners to recognise the signs of arthritis and to seek veterinary advice and help to provide your pet the pain relief it needs.
Add Doggy Ramps Around Your House
Help your dog get up in bed, sit on the couch or reach any other areas they love hanging out by adding dog-friendly ramps as needed around your house. You can find ramps at most pet supply stores, or get crafty and create your own using some wood, nails and grippy fabric to cover the ramp. Ramps help your dog continue living life as normally as possible without creating undue strain and stress on joints from jumping on and off furniture.
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Bring On The Exercise In Moderation
If you have watched your arthritic dog get up after lying down for awhile, or if you are afflicted with arthritis yourself, you know that creatures with arthritis may have a stiff gait. The longer they stay in one position, the harder it is for them to get up and go.
Exercise is important for all dogs regardless of their weight. It is also great for dog parents. Getting some fresh air and a chance to stretch your legs together can be a great way to increase your bond with your dog. Additionally, it can be a fun way to help your dog with arthritis at home.
Short and slow walks around the neighborhood can keep your dog limber and help an overweight dog burn more calories. In addition, these walks help maintain muscle mass to stabilize the joints. Swimming also makes a great low-impact exercise for arthritic dogs and can be an enjoyable treat in the summer heat.
Dogs dont always know their limits, so beware of letting your dog sprint or do other high-impact exercises. Also avoid the weekend warrior model of exercise. It may be seem fun in the short term, but your dog could get injured or suffer increased joint pain.
Surgery And Alternative Treatment Options
Sometimes effective management of osteoarthritis involves surgery. Surgery may involve joint stabilization in the event of pathologic instability , or removal of cartilage/bony chips , or joint replacement with a prosthetic joint . Another option, especially for the hock and wrist, is fusion of the joint , because this eliminates the pain associated with arthritis. For the hip joint we can also remove parts of the joint . The relative importance and timing of surgery is variable depending upon the injury or condition underlying the osteoarthritis.
Alternative Treatment Options
If the above treatment options do not result in satisfactory results, we may consider further options such as adjunctive pain medications, joint injections or alternative treatments such as low level laser therapy, shockwave therapy, acupuncture, etc.
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How Is Arthritis Treated
To determine whether your dog has arthritis, your veterinarian will need to examine their joints. An arthritic joint can feel a bit creaky and may not move smoothly. It might also be restricted and unable to move in the full range of motion expected of a healthy joint. If your veterinarian suspects arthritis, they may perform X-rays to assess the joint. But, once arthritis is diagnosed, what can you do about it? And what options are there for joint pain relief for dogs?
Ways To Ease Dog Arthritis In Cooler Weather
Reviewed and updated for accuracy on November 26, 2018, by Katie Grzyb, DVM
If you live with an arthritic dog, you know all too well that cooler weather can aggravate her symptoms. While there is no cure for arthritis in dogs, there are actionable, vet-recommended steps you can take to help relieve the pain, stiffness, joint popping and other dog arthritis symptoms.
Because your pup has specific health needs, always discuss any new treatment options with your veterinarian. Here are seven things you can do to help a dog with arthritis.
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Turn On A Tv Or Radio When You Leave
If your dog is arthritic and having real mobility issues it might be beneficial to leave a tv or radio on when you leave. This helps drown out incidental noise such as children playing outside or other dogs barking, or the mail being delivered all which make your dog: leap into action.
At a certain point and as arthritis progresses, these extra precautions help keep your dog from injuring herself further while youre not home.
Add A Doggy Pool To Your Yard
Non-weight bearing exercise is great for dogs with arthritis and swimming is one of the best and readily available forms. Regardless of age or extent of your dogs arthritis, maintaining mobility is so important. Swimming is a pain-free way for your dog to strengthen muscles, which protects joints in the long run.
If you have a pool you can let your dog go for a swim a few times per week. If you dont have a pool, or prefer to keep your pool dog-free, invest in a plastic kiddie pool that is large enough for your dog to swim around.
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