What Causes Arthritis In Dogs
Dogs who play too much fetch or jump high off the ground often cause damage to their joints and cartilage. Older dogs are more susceptible to arthritis than younger dogs.
Also, larger dogs are more likely to suffer joint problems than smaller dogs. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to developing arthritis than others.
For example, German Shepherd dogs have a higher incidence of hip dysplasia which causes arthritis in later life.
Some dogs develop arthritis because of an injury such as a broken leg or dislocated shoulder. Other factors include obesity and being overweight. Obesity puts extra stress on joints and increases the risk of arthritis.
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
Health Supplements For Arthritis And Mobility
Theres a wide range of natural health supplements for dogs with arthritis. The condition has many potential causes, from aging to mechanics change due to an injury. When bones are rubbing against each other, the once thick cartilage will become thin, causing inflammation and pain in the joints.
The following ingredients help improve mobility and reduce joint pain in dogs:
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate Glycosaminoglycans are essential ingredients of healthy cartilage, making them one of the most popular health supplements for joints.
- Hyaluronic acid This type of GAG is a primary component of joint fluid and increases cartilage resistance to wear and tear.
- Methylsulfonylmethane This ingredient is useful for forming new cartilage and can curb inflammation and joint pain.
- Omega-3 fatty acids these essential fats come with anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate pain and improve regeneration.
- Turmeric turmeric is a common supplement for enhancing immune function in humans, but you may just as well give it to your dog to reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
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The Prognosis For Dogs With Arthritis
Once signs of arthritis show, the conditions progression can be slowed down but not reversed. Most dogs respond well to treatment and live comfortably, but they will need to be on medications for the rest of their lives. Every dog requires a specific, tailored treatment plan, which needs to be discussed in detail with your vet.
Be Patient And Realistic
Your arthritic dog needs all the patience, support, and TLC you can offer. With your help, your dog can still remain happy and comfortable for a long time in the face of arthritis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Though treatment can slow the progression of the disease, it may eventually become so severe that your dog’s pain cannot be controlled and he will be too immobile to benefit from assistance.
Sadly, when other options have been exhausted, the time may come to consider humane euthanasia. As difficult as this decision is, rest assured you will be doing the right thing if it is out of love for your beloved companion.
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs
Although your pet may seem fine in themselves, eating normally and interesting in going out for walks there are several symptoms of arthritis in dogs to be aware of. Its important to take note of any changes, even if they dont seem to be linked to having sore legs.
- Limping before and after walks. Your dog may limp if only one leg is affected, but if more than one joint is affected, your dog may not have an obvious limp.
- Tiredness and showing an unwillingness to get up or walk around. Your dog may seem a bit stiff in the morning, or they cant get comfortable when lying down.
- Licking or chewing painful areas
- Signs of pain when standing, walking, or sitting up or down
- Behavioural changes. Your dogs behaviour may change and seem a bit grumpy if being cuddled or touched too much.
- Slowing down. Your dog may seem to have got old suddenly and tired quickly.
If you notice your dog is suffering from any of the above symptoms, visit your nearest vet right away who will be able to provide an expert and informed diagnosis:
Six Ways To Treat Arthritis In Your Dog
Arthritis in dogs causes inflammation and swelling that can make the simplest efforts, such as walking or getting up from a nap, quite painful. Learn how you can help ease your dogs arthritis pain and discomfort.
Arthritis in older dogs is often a result of a happy and active life, but may also result from injuries, diabetes and obesity. The most common form, osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, affects as many as one in five dogs.
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Incorporate Morning Oily Fish Treats
One jar or can of salmon, sardines or mackerel is pretty cheap at the grocery store and are natural foods that studies show decrease inflammation associated with arthritis. Give your arthritic dog one or two sardines each morning for an omega fatty acid boost.
For best results, make sure the sardines are packed in water or oil and not tomato or spicy variables. Give the treats daily so your arthritic dog benefits from the compound effects of fatty fish oil.
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.
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Arthritis In Dogs The Causes
Your dog is an amazing athlete. When was the last time YOU were able to jump as high as you are tall? I thought so.
But their athleticism comes at a price. You can only jump so high and land so hard so many times before the ligaments surrounding the joint start to stretch. As those ligaments stretch, they no longer hold the bones as tightly together so the bones start to grate against one another. This grating erodes the joint cartilage and creates inflammation within the joint and arthritis is born.
How early in life does arthritis in dogs occur? It is dictated by three factors:
- GENETICS Size counts. If your parents had bad joints, you will have bad joints.
- LIFESTYLE the more jumping, stairs, and twisting play you enjoy the earlier your pain.
- SPOILING every pound of fat creates an extra ton of pressure on a painful joint each day.
Vet Advice: Dog Food For Pain Arthritis Joints & Hip Dysplasia
If you decide to feed homemade dog food for arthritis, please get a recipe for a balanced diet from a veterinary nutritionist! You can even get a free recipe from BalanceIt.com but youll have to buy and add their powdered supplement to make the diet complete. Feeding an unbalanced diet can cause serious problems over the course of months. Dont make this mistake!
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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|
Treatments For Osteoarthritis In Dogs
If arthritis is diagnosed, the vet will recommend a plan to manage the condition and minimize pain, depending on the dogs age and the severity of the disease. For dogs that may be predisposed to arthritis, veterinarians may suggest starting preventative treatment at an early age to protect young joints and treat them ongoing as a dog ages.
Similar to treatments in humans, management plans for dogs may include trying several different therapies simultaneously: joint supplements, weight management, activity modification, low-impact exercise, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture, and sometimes surgery.
Joint supplements are one of the most common long-term, safe treatments recommended to help reduce inflammation and pain, improve function, and slow progression of joint damage and arthritis. Supplements for humans and dogs commonly include glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as green-lipped mussel .
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Arthritis In Dogs: How To Manage Pain
At the end of the day, although an arthritis diagnosis might seem frightening, there are many different methods and strategies available to you to help your dog and manage his pain. Your veterinarian can help you find the right plan based on your dog specifically and answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
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Control Your Dog’s Weight
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of slowing disease progression as excess weight puts more pressure on your dog’s painful joints and can promote inflammation. Your veterinarian can help you develop a plan that includes a target weight, what kind of food to provide, how much to provide, and when to provide it. Some prescription diets for dogs are designed to both manage weight and provide joint support.
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Assistive Devices For Dogs With Arthritis
Most dogs with arthritis will eventually need some form of assistive device to help them get around and do normal activities.
We have divided assistive devices into 7 categories:
- Stairs and ramps
STAIRS AND RAMPS
Jumping down from a bed or out of an SUV puts a lot of force on the joints and is not recommended for any dogwith or without arthritis! You can use stairs or ramps to help your dog, particularly when getting down/out. Many dogs will also benefit from assistance in getting up or jumping in.
1. Indoor ladders
There are many commercially available stairs and ramps designed to assist dogs in getting on and off the couch or bed. These come in all shapes, sizes, and décor. We have even seen very effective home-made ramps, such as using a cornhole lawn game with a yoga mat as a ramp!
When choosing couch and bed ladders, it is important to pick a product that has a non-slip surface and is wide enough for your dog to feel secure that they wont fall off, and sturdy enough for the size of your dog. There is currently not a single product that CARE endorses, but we will be testing several different products in the future and will provide an update with recommended products.
Until then, if you have a favorite pet stairs/ ramp, please let us know!
2. Car ladders
Typically the biggest challenge with indoor or outdoor stairs or ramps is getting your dog to use them! This will take some training, just like any new behavior.
SLINGS AND HARNESSES
SUPPORT WRAPS AND ORTHOTICS
The Role Of The Canine Joint
The canine joints play a critical role in normal movement.
Joints are the junction that connects two different bones in a dogs limb, allowing their limbs to move freely with each step.
Not only do joints help their limbs move with ease, but they also play a major role in the preservation of bones.
In a healthy dog joint, the joint is surrounded by fibrous tissue. The joints are also covered in cartilage that wraps around the end of the bone, offering added protection to this critical junction.
These structures not only support the joints with each movement, but they allow for proper shock absorption.
When a dog develops canine arthritis, they begin to feel the impact of a failing system.
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Our Solution: Glyde Mobility Chews Hip & Joint Supplement For Dogs
We decided to start with a dietary supplement of Glyde Mobility Chews to help relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no reversing the disease. But the good news is that just as it is in humans, arthritis signs can be treated.
I learned that Glyde Mobility Chews had a special formula with natural ingredients which would promote joint health and normal cartilage development.
I never knew joint health was something to be concerned about.
Well, it certainly is! Also important is the fact that Glyde has proven levels of glucosamine and chondroitin and that help maintain normal joint function. Glydesformula also contains New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel, the only natural source of ETA, a potent Omega-3 fatty acid, that helps relieve joint stiffness and while maintaining youthful mobility.
I now gave Glyde to my beloved beagle daily. It was funny how quickly I felt she reacted to it. Within a week, I already saw the difference. She was bringing me her toy to throw and she seemed happier. I felt that it was really working. We were starting to return to our regular schedule of morning runs. Mostly because I knew I needed to keep her active, just as I needed to keep active too. After some time on Glyde, and regular exercise, my adorable beagle was back to her old self.
I was a bit offended. No, we arenât leaving her.
Now, we get Glyde delivered to our house on a regular basis.
Thanks to Glyde Mobility Chewsfor bringing the puppy out of her again!
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!
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How To Help A Dog With Arthritis: Pain Relief For Hips & Hind Legs
One of the most common chronic medical conditions people face is arthritis however, it is important for everyone to note that arthritis is a problem that impacts pets as well as people. Dogs are members of peoples families and it can be heartbreaking to see a dog living in pain. Sadly, this is exactly the situation that arthritis creates.
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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