Arthritis In Dogs: How To Treat And Manage Painamerican Kennel Club
According to the Arthritis Foundation, one out of every five canines suffers from canine arthritis. Having an older dog who has started to slow down on walks, as well as having trouble walking up and down the stairs, might indicate that your dog is suffering from osteoarthritis. This condition, which is most usually observed in elderly dogs, can impair the legs, hips, back, and other body parts, making it difficult to perform regular tasks. However, as a dog owner, you may be on the lookout for signs of arthritis in dogs, and if your dog is diagnosed, you can consult with your veterinarian to choose the best course of action.
Giving Your Dog Nutraceuticals
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.
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How Is Arthritis In Dogs Diagnosed
There is no specific test that tells us that your dog has arthritis. Often the diagnosis is made following a detailed discussion and physical examination by your veterinary surgeon, who can tell if there is any pain or stiffness in your dogs joint.
X-rays can show whether the arthritis is advanced, but the early stages dont show up on an x-ray, however even if it cant be seen it should still be treated, helping to reduce the damage in the long term.
If there is something else wrong with your dog, this will need to be treated as well as the arthritic change in the joint for the best prognosis.
Are There Other Signs Of Oa Besides Difficulty Getting Up And Down
Dogs can exhibit many different signs when they have OA, and they do not necessarily demonstrate all the same signs all the time. The most common signs dog owners may notice include:
- Difficulty getting up and down
- Walking stiffly
- Lameness in one or more legs
- Reluctance to go up and/or down stairs
- Reluctance to jump up or down
- Stiff, swollen, or sore joints
- Reluctance to be touched on some parts of the body
- Loss of stamina
- Unexpected aggression towards other dogs or towards humans
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Ways To Help A Senior Dog With Arthritis At Home
Dr. Julie Buzby
If your dogs muzzle is getting grey and arthritis pain is threatening to steal the joy from those golden years, you want to ensure your home is safe and comfortable for your older dog with mobility challenges. Integrative veterinarian Dr. Julie Buzby draws from her many years of loving and caring for senior dogs to share these eight practical ways to help your dog with arthritis at home.
If youre like me, and your dog has been celebrating a tenth birthday for the past three years, it may be easy to forget your dog is a senior. Most dogs are great at concealing their age. But as they develop arthritis and their mobility changes, it may become more apparent that the years are taking a toll.
What Is Arthritis In Dogs
With the canine joint playing such a vital role in movement, you can begin to understand how much of an impact arthritis has on a dog.
Arthritis is the degeneration or inflammation of the canine joint, causing the cartilage within the joint to become brittle over time.
Not only can this be extremely painful for the dog affected, but it can make it extremely challenging to carry out normal tasks.
The cartilage in a dogs joint acts as a cushion each time they take a step. When the cushion between the connecting bones becomes brittle over time, this increases the risk of damage to the connecting bones.
The ends of the bone can begin to rub together, causing even more inflammation in an already irritated joint.
Not only can the bones begin to rub together, but the healthy joint fluid produced in the cartilage will decrease as well.
Without this necessary lubrication of the joint, boney formations can begin to form in the area. When this happens, an already stiff joint will become even more limited.
Inflammation is not only painful for a dog, but it can lead to a devastating cycle of destruction.
The longer the inflammation is present in a joint without medical intervention, the more damage you can expect to see down the line.
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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.
Preventing Arthritis In Dogs
Just like your health, prevention for your pooch is extremely important. Ensuring that your dog has regular veterinary care, a good diet, healthy amounts of exercise, and maintains a healthy weight will all support, prevent, or slow down the development of arthritis as your dog ages.
Make sure to find and develop a relationship with a veterinarian who you and your dog trust so that you have a preexisting relationship if your dog begins to experience arthritis symptoms.
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Physical Therapy And Rehab
This might be one of the most helpful and underutilized tools available in treating arthritis in dogs. Thankfully, its one of the fastest growing aspects of veterinary medicine. Veterinarians are quickly recognizing the benefits of physical therapy for animalswhich includes weight loss and mobility management for arthritic dogs.
Underwater treadmill therapy is a gentle form of exercise that helps with mobility and pain. The therapy allows the dog to exercise without overdoing it because the water supports the dogs body mass as he or she is walking.
More and more rehabilitation centers are becoming available for pets. You can search for one near you on the American Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians website.
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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Laser And Infrared Light Therapy
Laser therapy is gaining more and more popularity. As science is supporting that its working a growing number of vets provide this new treatment option. The beauty of laser therapy is its non-invasiveness and its low costs for the pet owner.
An even cheaper and, according to many pet owners, very helpful way to provide non-invasive pain relief to your furry friend is the LumaSoothe low-level light therapy device. It can be used for a variety of health problems from inflammation to skin issues. You can buy the LumaSoothe on Amazon, check here for the current price.
How Do Dogs Get Arthritis
Many of us have been told that arthritis is a normal part of canine aging.
While plenty of our senior canine friends will suffer from this joint disease at some point, it is not actually a result of the standard aging process.
Arthritis in dogs develops due to certain lifestyle and environmental factors, or a combination of the many factors listed below.
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My Dogs Veterinarian Said That My Dog Is Overweight She Prescribed New Food As Well As Some Medications And Nutraceuticals Why Are There So Many Things For Me To Give My Dog
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for treating OA. In fact, once OA is established, we are not so much treating it as managing it because OA is not a disease that can be cured.
OA is a very complex disease process, so managing it is a fairly complex process because we get the best results from combining multiple modalities. Typical multimodal management of arthritis generally includes the following:
Normalizing body condition is critical, so your veterinarian will prescribe a specific nutritional product to accomplish this goal. There is now a nutrient profile that can support the joints while helping to normalize body weight and condition. It is important to stick strictly to the prescribed nutritional program.
Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are generally used as the first line of defense against the pain of OA. Your veterinarian will determine if your dog is a good candidate for this class of medication.
Occasionally, a corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drug will be prescribed instead of a NSAID. The two classes of medication CANNOT be used together.
“Never reach into your own medicine cabinet when your dog limps or has been diagnosed with OA.”
Gabapentin is a pain medication that addresses chronic pain differently from NSAIDs or corticosteroids, and complements those medications. It provides a way to address the chronic nature of OA pain, and is especially helpful when the patient is older and not able to take a NSAID.
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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Treating Arthritis Pain In Dogs
Reducing joint pain and inflammation tends to be the first line of response to treating a dog with arthritis. Fortunately, there are a number of different options that veterinarians can recommend as well as at-home care techniques that include maintaining your pet at a healthy weight, keeping them warm and comfortable and ensuring that they get enough gentle exercise.
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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What Should I Be Looking For That Could Indicate Arthritis In Dogs
While arthritis in dogs can be difficult to detect by the average pet owner in its early stages, keeping an eye out for the following symptoms can be a little clue.
Keep in mind that dogs have learned through evolution to hide any signs of discomfort or pain because it helped to keep them safe from predators. Youll have to pay close attention to your dog to see the symptoms of arthritis at first, but that just gives you more reason to spend time with them!
- Less excited about playing, running, going on walks, or jumping
- Having accidents around the house, or trouble squatting to urinate or have a bowel movement
- Losing muscle mass, especially around the back legs or spine
- Weight gain
- Behavioral changes, like getting snappy
If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Can Arthritis Be Cured
Unfortunately not. Once cartilage in your dog’s joint has been damaged it rarely repairs itself completely. But many pets can successfully be made pain free by appropriate long-term use of medication and sensible management to control further deterioration. With so much variety in severity of arthritis between patients, many dogs cope well, leading full and active lives without any veterinary intervention at all. However, certain patients will require treatment ranging from simple lifestyle changes to complex surgery.
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Healthy Joints Happy Pets
Helping older or arthritic pets keep their joints healthy and their bodies in good condition can let them enjoy walks and playtime throughout the duration of their lives. Even pets with advanced arthritis can maintain a good quality of life and stay active with the help of a veterinarian and good treatment plan.
Sadly, we lost Otis a few years ago at the age of 11. But for the three years following his surgery, we were able to manage his arthritis and maintain his comfort with a combination of weight management, exercise, NSAIDs, essential fatty acids and joint supplements. He was able to get back to the activities he loved and play with our other three dogs. It warmed our hearts to see his quality of life return to a happy, healthy one for his remaining years.
Supplements May Improve Joint Function
Theres a never-ending list of joint supplements for arthritic dogs. Although their efficacy should not be overestimated its worth having a closer look at them.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids are believed to suppress inflammatory processes in the body. As a consequence, they slow down the progression of the disease and provide a certain degree of natural pain relief. First results are not to be expected before giving them for at least 6-8 weeks. In fact, theres promising scientific evidence for the use of omega-3 fatty acids for canine arthritis.
- Glucosamine is a building block of the joint cartilage and one of the best-known supplements for arthritis. It is often combined with chondroitin sulfate. Both are given to improve joint function. Even though theres mixed scientific evidence for its efficacy its definitely with considering.
- Chondroitin Sulfate protects the joint by inhibiting enzymes that destroy the joint cartilage. As mentioned before, most arthritis products contain chondroitin anyway. Its a good idea to use this supplement early in the disease process or even as a preventative in fast-growing dogs.
- Green Lipped Mussel Extract
- Vitamin E
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