Arthritis In Dogs What Is It
Arthritis in dogs, also known as osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease , is a very common degenerative condition of the joints in dogs. There are actually a few different types of arthritis, but the focus of this article is osteoarthritis.
It tends to occur most commonly in the hip, elbow, stifle , carpus , and intervertebral joints , although it can raise its ugly head any place in the body where you have a joint and some cartilage.
The most common sites of arthritis in dogs
Arthritis can occur for a variety of reasons, including trauma, abnormal loads on joints, and congenital abnormalities like dysplasia. Commonly it is simply due to wear and tear of the cartilage within the joints. For this reason it tends to strike older dogs most frequently. Cats are also afflicted, but tend to be better at hiding their discomfort. I will discuss our feline friends in another post.
So cartilage is a lovely shock absorber, and when its damaged or absent, we end up with bones rubbing against each other, which is seriously painful and creates inflammation.
Of the four hips pictured above, only the one with the red arrow is normal. See how the ball is lovely and round and sits nicely in the socket? That dogs other hip is subluxated, which means its not sitting all the way in the socket. Hopefully anyone can see that both of the hips in the right hand photo are flipping awful.
Relieving Dog Arthritis With Natural Remedies Tploinfo
As your dog ages, the cartilage on the surfaces of its joints may get thinner, increasing the likelihood that it may develop arthritis in the future. Being aware of what to do and how to prevent the ailment might be beneficial to your dog in the long term. Arthritis is frequent in older and larger dogs, as well as in cats. Canines that suffer from this ailment end up with injured joints that lack the essential padding to prevent them from moving about. As a result, your dogs bones are more likely to rub directly against one another, which can be uncomfortable and painful for him.
Dog arthritis is a degenerative condition for which there is now no recognized treatment.
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Cover Slippery Floors In Your House
- Use rugs, carpets or anti-slip mats to make floors around the house less slippy.
- Dogs with arthritis have weak muscles, which means they are prone to slipping and struggle to get up. Slipping can cause further injury.
- If you cant cover the whole house, focus these in the areas that your dog uses the most.
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How You Can Ease Your Senior Dog’s Arthritis Pain
You recognize the signs. The slow hobble to greet you at the door where once your dog practically leaped at the chance to put his paws on you. The laborious clamber from a resting position to standing.
These are clear signs of arthritis pain and it affects between 60 70% of dogs.
Other signs include limping, reluctance to go up and down stairs and generally, a lethargy where you once had an active pooch.
When you think about it, its not surprising that arthritis pain slows down even the most enthusiastic dog greeting. After all, its condition where the cartilage has worn away and now your dog experiences bone grinding against bone when he gets up. No wonder so many of those movements look less than graceful!
Why theres no cure for arthritis pain, there are treatment plans you and your veterinarian can employ to ease the pain.
Of course, if youre like most pet lovers, you may wonder what causes arthritis and if its a natural extension of old age? In other words, what brings this painful condition on in the first place?
First, arthritis is often caused by a ligament damage that hasnt healed properly. Have you ever seen a dog go airborne for a frisbee and then have a rough landing? That rough landing can have consequences later in life.
But what about the dogs that have never been especially active and who might be smaller? Well, arthritis can and does affect many dogs and we dont always know all the reasons why.
So whats a pet lover to do?
The Cornerstones Of Osteoarthritis Management
Osteoarthritis affects the patient as a whole, so the whole patient needs treatment. Treatment needs to focus not only on the cartilage but also on the surrounding structures that are equally affected . Effective management hinges on a careful balance of activity, nutrition, muscle development, weight management, medications, and joint supplements. In many cases, various treatment modifications are necessary. Management must be comprehensive and sustained, and it is important to remember that regular follow up is necessary, not only to gauge the success of therapy, but to re-evaluate and add in other therapies as indicated by the specific needs of your pet.
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Diagnosing Arthritis In Dogs
When you first take your dog to the veterinarian after seeing the symptoms of arthritis, your vet will examine your dog in a few ways to see what might be causing the trouble.
Be prepared to talk with your vet about all the symptoms youve observed in your dogs behavior. Your vet will want to know which symptoms youve noticed, when they started, and how severe they are. This discussion will play an important initial role in the diagnostic process and will greatly help your vet to make his or her diagnosis.
Other diagnostic tests include:
- Examination of your pets legs to determine which joints are affected.
- X-rays of the affected joint to help confirm the presence of arthritis as the cause of pain or decreased mobility. X-rays can also show how the joints are being affected by arthritis, such as increased joint fluid and a narrowed joint space.
- Blood and urine samples to determine if an infection is the problem with the joint or if other medical issues are causing your dog discomfort.
- A sample of synovial fluid from the affected joints may also be necessary to determine the cause of your dogs arthritis.
What Is Canine Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions in our canine companions. The disease which is also known as degenerative joint disease leads to restricted movement and mobility issues. When a dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it means that the affected joint is in a state of chronic inflammation and pain.
Although it is true that any joint in the body could potentially develop osteoarthritis, the most commonly affected joints in dogs are those in the limbs and lower spine.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be cured. When managed well, however, the course of the disease can be slowed down.
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How Can I Choose The Right Type Of Arthritis Medication For My Dog
When it comes to arthritis medication for dogs, its usually best to start off with an anti-inflammatory medication first. This will help to reduce inflammation and pain while also slowing down the progression of the disease. After that, it may be advisable to switch to a pain reliever as needed.
To make sure youre choosing the right medication for your dog, always consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to recommend the best medication based on the individual dogs health and circumstances.
Most importantly, remember that any medication you choose for your dog should not harm them in any way.
Arthritis is a common disease that can affect any dog, but it can be especially severe in dogs who are overweight or have joint disease.
If youre looking for ways to treat arthritis in your dog, read on for advice on the best arthritis medication and treatment options.
Along with medication, supplementing your dogs diet with glucosamine and chondroitin can also help to relieve pain and inflammation. Let us know if you have any questions or comments in the comments below!
Other Prescription Pain Relief
Although NSAIDS tend to be the medication prescribed by veterinarians to treat canine arthritis, there are other drugs that are available on prescription that can make it easier for your pet to manage their discomfort. These include gabapentin and tramadol. These are typically stronger than NSAIDS so treatment must be carefully supervised by your vet.
Tools To Help Your Arthritic Dog
As arthritis progresses, your dog will likely experience trouble getting around. These tools can help improve your dogs daily mobility and quality of life.
Have slippery floors in your home? Non-slip dog booties can help with stability on slick hardwood or tiled floors. The Lonsuneer Dog Boots come in five sizes and have an adjustable closure so they dont slip off of your dogs paws. They also come in black, blue, and red to fit your dogs personal style. Theyll keep your dogs paws cool and dry and help him maneuver through your home like normal.
If your dog is suffering from crippling arthritis in his hips or rear legs, using a pelvic harness/sling is a great way to help your dog with mobility. The vet-recommended Walkabout Back End Harness fits comfortably around your dogs abdomen and back legs and has a handle for you to lift up his back end. It comes in seven sizes so you can find the best fit.
If your dogs arthritis is severe, you may want to consider one of these dog wheelchairs to help him get around more easily. However, your dogs muscles will atrophy much quicker while using a wheelchair, so it is important to use one only after you have talked to your vet about it and when you have already tried other options unsuccessfully.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Suffering From Arthritis
Some of the signs that your dog may be suffering from arthritis are pain, stiffness, loss of movement, lameness, and a decrease in appetite. Thus, the first step is to take your dog for a vet checkup to determine the severity of the disease. This will help you in deciding on the best medication or treatment plan to address the issue.
Most importantly, regular anti-inflammatory medication administered can significantly reduce pain and inflammation while also helping to restore mobility lost due to arthritis.
What Causes Arthritis In Pets
Arthritis develops in pets because of age-related changes in the joint similar to that which occurs in people. Pets that are very active may be prone to mild injuries that can later develop into arthritic joints as they get older.
Other pets may be born with a hereditary problem that develops into arthritis as they age. Some breeds, including German shepherds, golden retrievers and Rottweilers, may be more prone to developing arthritis as a result of a condition like hip dysplasia, which causes loose hip joints.
When arthritis is suspected, a veterinarian can confirm it, often through X-rays of the affected joint. Once the condition is diagnosed, a veterinarian will then come up with a treatment plan for each patient.
Veterinarians generally prefer nonsurgical treatment. Although surgical options exist, including joint replacement, most dogs can be successfully managed through a combination of approaches including weight management, exercise, joint supplements, prescription anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs and physical therapy.
Heres how each of these works to help arthritic dogs stay healthy and active.
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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Treating Arthritis In Dogs
As your veterinarian will explain, there are a variety of different options to treat arthritis in dogs. Your plan may include a combination of management solutions and ultimately will depend on your dog and his specific situation. That being said, these are some of the most common ways to manage arthritis pain in dogs.
Making Home Modifications To Help Ease Your Dogs Arthritis Pain
Now that weve covered medical management, lets look at what you can do at home to help your arthritic dog. Slick surfaces like hardwood and tile floors, stairs, and furniture can prove difficult for painful pets. You can make your dog much more comfortable by considering some simple home modification approaches. Even something as simple as a soft dog bed to lie on can help.
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Stair Treads Help Arthritic Dogs
If your arthritic dog has to use stairs have a look at the stair treads.
For indoor staircases, steps that are all wood or linoleum are prime candidates for temporary step treads. The styles that work best for dog paws are the rubber backed treads with double tape or the self stick gritty tape kind .
For outdoor steps, most steps are fine until they are wet or snowy, then they are downright dangerous. I know my own deck steps get really slippery after it rains and thats why I have the sticky, gritty roll tape on my outdoor deck steps and on my front porch I tacked down the outdoor carpet stair treads.
TIP: Stair treads that dont work well for dog paws are the decorative open pattern rubber style. This style easily traps a dogs toe or paw and should be avoided . The other style that doesnt work well for dogs is any style that is slippery or that does not get securely fastened.
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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Recognizing Arthritis In Senior Dogs
As arthritis progresses, some older dogs will have a harder time standing up from a lying position or jumping up into the car or onto the bed. Others may look stiff, act sore, or begin limping when they walk.
It can be easy to attribute the signs of arthritis to age-related slowing down and assume this is normal behavior for a senior dog. However, many times this isnt the case.
If your dog is in the golden yearsor closethere are simple steps you can take at home to give the gifts of mobility, comfort, and more good days. However, before you break out your DIY building skills, shop online, or implement any of the other tips I am about to share with you, first please make an appointment with your dogs veterinarian.
Easing Your Dogs Chronic Pain
Although arthritis is common among dogs and can cause them pain, the variety of effective treatments gives us hope that they will be able to jump back up on the couch again, whether you want them there or not. As we mentioned above, CBD oil for dogs is an all-natural remedy that may reduce your dogs arthritic pain. Its becoming a popular treatment for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, joint inflammation, anxiety, digestive issues, and more. Let your vet know if you plan to use CBD to complement your dogs other arthritis treatments.
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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.