Theyve Lost Muscle Mass
Reduced physical activity can cause muscle loss in your dog. Larger dogs are more prone to muscular atrophy as a result of arthritis, although it can still occur in smaller dogs.
If their back legs can no longer support their weight and they begin to favour their front legs, they might have lost some muscle mass from arthritis.
Reluctance To Exercise Or Jump Up
Due to the pain associated with arthritis, your dog may be less willing to do the things that they used to enjoy like going for a walk or jumping up to catch a call. However, it is also important to note that just because your dog may still willingly do these activities, it does not rule out them potentially having arthritis pain if they still have other signs
Senior Dogs And Arthritis
Arthritis is a relatively common occurrence in senior dogs. Some research indicates that over 50% of dogs over the age of seven are more likely to develop some form of arthritis in their lifetime. Osteoarthritis is the more common type of arthritis seen in older dogs. It is degenerative which means it is an ongoing condition that is the result of the cartilage in the joints deteriorating over time. As the cartilage becomes less and less present in the joint, it can become inflamed, lead to bone spurs and the retention of fluids. All of these can cause the painful symptoms we commonly associate with arthritis.
The areas on a dogs body most commonly affected are the knees, hips, elbows and back. Typically, signs of arthritis usually start to appear in the latter half of a dogs life, which can vary depending on the breed of dog. It is less common, but some dogs can start to display signs of arthritis at a young age. It is a good idea to be aware if your dog displays any of the symptoms listed below. The earlier arthritis can be detected, the better. Dogs are generally more susceptible to the disease than cats, and larger breeds have a higher risk factor than smaller breeds.
Symptoms to look for:
- Unable to stand or rise from the ground especially upon waking
- Unable to or reluctant to jump
- Unable to or reluctant to climb stairs
- Affected area sensitive to the touch
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Causes Of Arthritis In Pets
Osteoarthritis is associated with aging, as cartilage deteriorates slowly over time. Hip and elbow dysplasia and some bone conditions also are common factors contributing to development of arthritis, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine. Large breed dogs and cats are at higher risk for osteoarthritis because theyre more prone to these causal conditions and because their greater weight puts more strain on their bones and joints. Other types of arthritis have different causes. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is an autoimmune condition theres also an infectious arthritis caused by bacterial infections in the affected joint.
Can Canine Oa Be Prevented
Allowing a dog to grow slowly as a puppy, and maintaining a lean body condition throughout growth and into adulthood, is the mostimportant way to prevent OA. Growth abnormalities and injuries cannot always be predicted, so even our best efforts may not be enough to ward off OA in an older dog. That said, with slow growth, good nutrition, optimal body condition, and regular exercise, the odds of preventing or at least delaying OA are excellent. Your veterinarian will partner with you to create the best plan for your dog.
|Contributors: Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CRPP|
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Theyre Unexpectedly Aggressive Or Irritable When Touched
Its quite normal that dogs experiencing chronic pain such as arthritis will be more distressed.
This might manifest itself in feeling irritated when petted, particularly in areas where they might be experiencing arthritic pain, such as their lower back.
They might be unexpectedly aggressive towards humans, or other dogs.
Arthritis Relief Treatment For Dogs
The first thing you should do once you suspect your dog has arthritis is to take him in for a thorough examination by a vet. Then, your vet can talk with you about treatment options and ways to keep your dog feeling his best.
Treatment focuses on protecting your pets mobility and enhancing her quality of life. Your veterinarian will have a personalized management plan that is likely to include medicine and supplement prescriptions and tips for making your cat or dog more comfortable at home. Human products are almost never safe for companion animals give your pet only products that were prescribed to her in the recommended dosage, even if they are natural supplements.
Steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs thats NSAIDs for short are often used to reduce pain and inflammation. Nutritional supplements containing compounds such as glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane, hyaluronic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are commonly recommended, too. Overweight pets benefit from weight loss, according to the Arthritis Foundation, so limit treats, cut back on portion sizes and incorporate safe, gentle exercises suggested by your veterinarian.
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Is It Canine Arthritis Or Aging Learn 7 Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs
Is your senior dog slowing down? Many dog owners attribute this to aging and dont think twice about it. But what if I told you that this change in behavior is one of the signs of arthritis in dogs? Better yet, what if your beloved dog could feel young again?
The first step begins with understanding what arthritis is, learning how to identify the signs of arthritis in dogs, and getting an accurate diagnosis from your veterinarian.
Signs And Treatment For Arthritis In Dogs
Arthritis in dogs is one of the most common health problems diagnosed by veterinarians every year. Study data reveals that as many as 1 in 4 dogs in the United States suffer from some form of canine arthritis.
Arthritis is a general term for joint inflammation that can be due to trauma, infection, congenital issues, structural problems, or autoimmune disease, says Dr. Ashley Rossman, co-owner of Glen Oak Dog and Cat Hospital in Glenview, Ill. Arthritis is more common as pets age. However, younger pets can have issues, as well.
Early symptoms of arthritis in dogs can be difficult to spot, so its important to stay informed about the causes and what to look for, as early treatment can help your dog stay comfortable.
How To Know If Your Dog Has Canine Arthritis
27 April, 2019
When dogs reach old age, they suffer from many ailments similar to those that humans suffer from. One of these is canine arthritis. However, overweight animals can also have arthritis. In this article, youll find out what arthritis is, how it can affect your dog, and how to know if your dog has it.
Common Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs
Osteoarthritis is a common ailment found in older dogs, as well as some larger breeds that are genetically prone to it. Similarly to humans, arthritis in dogs causes changes in the affected joints that can be incredibly painful for your pet.
Arthritis can occur in any joint, but is most commonly found in the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. It can be caused by ongoing wear and tear, but can also be caused by an injury to the area, genetics, and disease.
If you notice any of the following 7 signs and suspect that your dog may suffer from arthritis, make an appointment with your vet to create a care plan.
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What Causes Arthritis In Dogs
Just like people, dogs have cartilage at the ends of their bones within the joints that serve to cushion the impact between the bones as they move around. As dogs get older, this cartilage can erode and weaken, which can lead to inflammation and pain. Arthritis can also be influenced by other factors, including:
- Developmental issues that cause the joint to develop improperly, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or luxating patella
- An earlier fracture in the area of the joint
- Previous rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament in the knee that weakens the joint
- Obesitythis extra weight puts pressure on the joints and damages the cartilage
In addition to arthritis, obesity can cause a number of health issues, like kidney, liver, or heart problems, as well as diabetes. Its essential to help your dog maintain a healthy weight through proper nutrition and exercise.
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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Should I Do Anything Else To Help My Dog Be More Comfortable
There are simple things that any dog owner can provide to a dog with OA that can help with comfort and mobility. These include:
- Soft, padded bedding
- Raised food and water dishes
- Non-skid floor surfaces
- A ramp for entering and leaving a vehicle
- Adhering to prescribed feeding and medication recommendations
Should You Walk A Dog With Arthritis
Yes moderate, low-impact exercise is encouraged no matter what. This can, in fact, help doggies with arthritis move easier, and also prevents weight gain which can add further stress to their joints.
If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, they might not enjoy activities that they previously did, such as high-impact running, jumping or agility games.
However, this is by no means a sign that they should stop exercising altogether.
Take it step-by-step. Instead, the goal should be to increase their heart rate sufficiently so that they remain active.
Its fundamental that they maintain some form of muscular strength, and that you as their owner do all you can to preserve their remaining mobility.
Try a couple of minutes of gentle playing or walking before initiating a range of low-impact exercises, or short, frequent walks. Gentle exercise or walking can also help to reduce cramp, injury or sprains.
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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.
How Can I Manage My Dogs Arthritis
A healthy diet, maintaining an optimum weight and the right amount of exercise will also improve symptoms. Discuss with your vet what exercise regime is best for your dog but – in general – little and often is likely to be better than very long walks. If your pet is limping on the way back, theyve probably overdone it. Rest your pet on days they are lame or stiff.
Providing a soft, comfortable bed will help to take pressure off of your dogs joints when they are resting. Ramps up any stairs they need to climb or to help them into the car will also benefit your dog if they are suffering from arthritis.
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Products To Help Dog Arthritis
Arthritis is a progressive disease in dogs just like humans and there is no known cure. That is why prevention and protection of dogs joints early on through diet, exercise and the use of different therapies is key to keeping your dog moving like the puppy they are at heart.
Dogs can start to show signs of arthritis as early as 1 year of age. According to the Vet Times , the degenerative joint condition can be found in 20% of dogs before their first year and 80% of more senior dogs at or over age 8. The key is for early treatment to minimize discomfort and visible appearance of pain that could impact your fur-baby on a daily basis.
Arthritis Often Manifests In The Dogs Hips
One of the most common places for dogs to develop arthritis is in the hips, often as a result of hip dysplasia. In the X-ray below, you can see a dogs hip joints. It is the ball and socket where the femur sits in a cup in the dogs pelvic bone.
Some of the common changes include osteophytes and enthesophytes , flattening of the femoral head, and in severe cases, subluxation of the femoral head .
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Theyre Suffering From Fatigue And Lethargy
Alongside limping and having trouble walking, they will be resting more often than usual and might suffer from a lack of energy.
If you notice that your pup lacks the energy to do their favourite things such as running around, jumping up and going for walkies, then it might be that theyre struggling with arthritic pain.
How To Help A Dog Suffering From Arthritis
There are lots of ways to help alleviate dog arthritis symptoms.
In the house: Make sure your arthritic dog has a special bed and well-padded bedding. Keep the sleeping quarters away from damp drafts and cold areas.
Use a ramp or padded steps for your pet to get on and off the bed and couch. For slippery surfaces, place yoga mats or non-skid flooring. Place a sloped ramp instead of steps for your pet to get out of the house easily.
Massage: Massaging your dogs muscles boosts the flow of blood to the muscles. If you dont know how to massage him, you should learn the practice from a dog massage therapist.
Warm compresses on sore joints may also help soothe and loosen muscles. This increases blood flow to the muscles.
Laser: Cold laser therapy helps to boost blood flow, which may improve symptoms and provide relief to dogs.
Supplements: Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin, curcumin, MSM, and Boswellia can all help to treat arthritis in dogs. Make sure to consult your veterinarian about the best dosage and combination.
Gentle exercise: No matter the age of your dog, or how severe his arthritis is, hell need some sort of exercise.
Make him take part in some gentle activities, such as a nice swim or a leisurely walk. This will help keep his joints moving well, preventing them from getting too stiff.
Does My Dog Have Arthritis
Arthritis is a common disease in dogs and is particularly prominent in older dogs. Some dogs can even start experiencing symptoms from a young age, but you might not notice them until theyre older.
Younger dogs that are more physically fit not overweight can often tolerate more advanced cases of OA than older, out of condition, overweight pets because the muscles of the affected joint help to stabilize the joint and compensate, Dr. Cruz said. As the pet ages and the muscles weaken, the signs often seem to suddenly appear. In reality, the pet is just decompensating.
Can Arthritis Be Prevented
Age-related arthritis cant be prevented, but you can certainly do a number of things to help reduce the risk and delay the onset and severity of symptoms. As detailed above, this includes controlling weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The risk of hip dysplasia, which can cause arthritis and is particularly prevalent in certain breeds, can be reduced by good breeding practices including the hip scoring of potential parents.
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Next Steps After Diagnosis
Once you have a diagnosis, you can move forward with a treatment plan recommended by your vet. It may involve lifestyle changes, changes to your home environment such as switching to anorthopedic dog bed, and arthritis medications. Although arthritis is a chronic condition, it doesnt mean your dog has to live in pain for the rest of their life. You can help them stay healthy and regain mobility to improve their quality of life so you can look forward to many more happy years together.