Arthritis in Dogs
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Sometimes we are surprised to discover how pets go on to develop the same diseases as humans. This is a sudden reminder of how similar we are in terms of biological issues and genetics. Once you understand this reality, you can pay more attention to possible symptoms of ailments that are actually quite similar to those in humans. However, diseases in dogs are usually treated with different methods.
Today at AnimalWised we'll talk about arthritis in dogs, its causes and treatment. As this is a very common disease in dogs, prevention is always better than the cure.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints, quite common once the dog reaches a certain age. It appears when the cartilage of the joints begins to wear down, which causes bone spurs. This will gradually worsen the symptoms, deteriorating your dog's quality of life.
What are the causes of arthritis in dogs?
Despite being a common disease in dogs, certain factors make them more likely to develop arthritis. The most common causes of arthritis and cartilage degeneration include:
- Age: From the age of 8, it is normal that joints and bones begin to wear out, causing arthritis.
- Being overweight: Obesity causes the joints to have to support more weight than they should.
- Genetics: Some breeds, such as German Shepherds, have an increased susceptibility of suffering from this disease.
- Large breeds: The greater the weight, the more work the joints need to do to hold the animal up.
- Joint surgery: If your dog has at some point had joint surgery, they can develop arthritis as they get older.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
You should pay attention to the following symptoms that may indicate that your dog has arthritis, as an early diagnosis will contribute to bettering their quality of life and stop the degeneration of their joints:
- The dog trails behind you when you take them out for a walk.
- They show stiffness and difficulty getting up in the morning.
- They begin to limp.
- They don't want to play, and stop running or even walking.
- They suffer from chronic pain.
- They show difficulty climbing on beds or furniture and climbing the stairs.
- They doesn't like it when you touch their legs.
- They whine with pain.
- Their mood lapses.
- They lose their appetite.
- They become distant with you.
- Their eyes lose brightness.
- Sometimes they may be aggressive, as a way to protect themselves.
- They show pain when scratching or licking themselves.
- Their ears are flat against their head.
- In general, their usual behavior changes.
If your dog exhibits one or more of these symptoms, you should take them to the vet immediately.
What is the treatment for arthritis in dogs?
Pharmacological treatment is prescribed by the vet. Usually it consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. However, you should never medicate your dog yourself, and definitely don't give them prescription drugs for humans as they are toxic to dogs.
At home, you can help a dog with arthritis as follows:
- Place an orthopedic band so they can rest more comfortably.
- Elevate their food and water bowls so that they don't have to bend down.
- Walk your dog on soft surfaces, such as soil.
- Control their diet, as any weight gain will only be detrimental.
- Give them a daily massage on their back, neck, knees, hips and elbows to help relieve stiffness.
- Do not forget to exercise them. Consider activities for older dogs, as they are softer.
- At bedtime, make sure there are no drafts. Do not let your dog sleep directly on the floor, because cold makes the pain worse.
- If possible, place makeshift ramps with plates or brass so that your dog doesn't have to climb too many stairs.
With these recommendations, along with prescriptions from the doctor, you will improve your dog's quality of life considerably.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Arthritis in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Degenerative diseases category.