Canine arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of dogs worldwide. It is a disease that results from the progressive degeneration of joint tissues, which can cause severe pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in your furry friend. Arthritis can affect any breed and any age of dog, but it is more common in older dogs.
50% of dogs are being diagnosed as arthritic between the ages of 8 and 13 years old
What Causes Arthritis?
The main causes of arthritis in dogs are joint damage, wear, and tear, obesity, and genetic predisposition. Joint damage often occurs due to excessive activity, traumatic injury to the joints, or a misaligned or poorly formed joint. Excessive wear and tear on joints can result from age, repetitive movements, and obesity, which puts extra pressure on the joints. Finally, some breeds have a genetic predisposition to developing arthritis due to their anatomical structure and body composition.
The symptoms of arthritis in dogs can vary from mild to severe, depending on the extent of joint damage. The most common symptoms include stiffness, limping or lameness, reluctance to walk, reduced enthusiasm for exercise, difficulty climbing stairs, and a decrease in appetite. Dogs with arthritis may also show signs of increased pain or discomfort when touched around the affected joint.
The treatment of canine arthritis depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, the best approach may be to manage the pain with anti-inflammatory drugs or joint supplements. Weight management is also essential, as overweight dogs put more pressure on their joints, leading to increased wear and tear. Regular exercise is also vital. Swimming or hydrotherapy can be beneficial for dogs with arthritis, as it is low impact and can help to increase muscle strength and circulation.
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to address joint damage. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can help to remove damaged cartilage and repair joint ligaments. In some cases, joint replacement surgery may be necessary to improve mobility and reduce pain.
In conclusion, canine arthritis is a common condition that can significantly affect your dog's quality of life. While there is no cure for arthritis, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help to manage the pain and improve your dog's mobility. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to identify any potential health issues early, including arthritis. With proper care, your furry friend can still enjoy many happy and active years.