By Kelly Marshall
Dog owners need to watch for signs of arthritis as their pets age.
Arthritic dogs have a hard time getting around.
They may walk with a stiff and hobbling gait.
They may no longer be interested in playing with dog toys, walking or any other physical activities and prefer to spend most of the time sleeping.
Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis is a debilitating disease causing stiffness and pain in the joints.
Dog joints like human joints are susceptible to many different disorders. These disorders include diseases such as immune disorders, development disorders that include hip and elbow dysplasia, degenerative disorders, trauma and infections. Once a joint is affected, it can lead to arthritis. Arthritis is basically inflammation in the joints.
Most dogs develop joint diseases in varying degrees from mild to debilitating cases.
Types of Arthritis
There are basically two commonly found types of arthritis. The first is osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease. This caused by the wear and tear of the joint mostly due to age. The second type is the Inflammatory Joint Disease, which is the result of other conditions like infections, disease, or trauma to the joints. These conditions result in an inflamed joint.
Which Dogs are at Risk
Large breed dogs and overweight dogs are usually susceptible to acquiring arthritis. Dogs that have suffered injury to their joints can also develop osteoarthritis. There are also risk factors associated with certain breeds of dogs, especially dogs that hereditary disorders like dysplasia.
To manage arthritis in dogs, veterinarians recommend controlling the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis with medication. This should also be accompanied by a suitable diet and exercise and supplements.
Managing a dog’s weight is important. Overweight dogs are prone to dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Surgical and medical interventions for arthritis will not be effective unless the dog reaches the recommended weight. Get the dog running by chasing after it’s favorite dog toys.
Exercise keeps the dog’s joints and muscles active. Low impact exercises are best for a dog suffering from arthritis. Walking up and down stairs, swimming, treadmills, and leash walking are some of the exercises you can use, depending on the severity of the dog’s disease.
To encourage a dog to swim, purchase floatable dog toys that the dog can fetch from the water.
Arthritic symptoms worsen with cold. Giving a dog a warm, dry, and draftless sleeping area will keep the dog comfortable.
A firm orthopedic foam bed that distributes the dog’s weight evenly reduces pressure on the joints and can help an arthritic dog as it curls up with favorite dog toys. Purchasing an arthritic dog a sweater to manage the cold weather also can help with joint stiffness.
Limit excessive motion on the dog’s joints by providing ramps instead of stairs.
Treatment of Arthritis in Dogs
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are commonly used supplements used to manage arthritis. The supplement works by repair the damaged cartilage. It takes at least 6 weeks before the healing effects are noticed. There are also injectable medications available that help either repair damaged cartilage or help in the production of new cartilage.
Giving your dog anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the swelling associated with arthritis in dogs and help in pain management. Drugs that can be given include buffered aspirin, NSAIDS like carprofen, deramaxx, ketoprofen, and EtoGesic.
In extreme cases, hip replacement surgery is a costly option.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly visit Oh My Dog Supplies.