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Arthritis in Dogs
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Arthritis doesn't discriminate. It affects not only people of all ages, but also strikes our
furry friends, too. If you're a dog-owner and notice changes in mood and activity, he
could be syffering from canine arthritis. In fact, canine arthritis affects one in
every five adult dogs in the U.S. and is one of the most common sources of chronic
pain that veterinarians treat.
Canine arthritis results from destruction of the cartilage that protects the bones that
make up the joint. Cartilage destruction can be the result of normal stress on
abnormal joints or abnormal stress on normal joints. Canine arthritis is likely to hit
dog's body at the hip, shoulder, knees, elbows, wrists and ankles. Canine arthritis
results from inflammation in the joints and is generally divided into two types
- degenerative canine arthritis and inflammatory canine arthritis, according to the
source of that irritation.
Degenerative Canine arthritis
Degenerative Canine arthritis may not manifest until the dog has had years of
abnormal stress. Since cartilage has no nerves, the damage can progress with no
outward signs until the joint is severely compromised and the lubricating fluid has
thinned and lost its ability to protect the bone surfaces.
Inflammatory canine arthritis
Inflammatory canine arthritis can be caused by infection or by underlying immune-mediated diseases. Inflammatory canine arthritis usually affects multiple joints and
is accompanied by signs of systemic illness including fever, anorexia, an all-over
Again, this type of canine arthritis is subdivided into infectious and immune-mediated categories of canine arthritis. Infectious joint disease can be caused by
bacteria, by tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and by
Immune-mediated canine arthritis is cause by underlying weakness in the immune
system and can be hereditary.
Rheumatoid canine arthritis, a deforming type of immune-mediated canine
arthritis, is rare in dogs. Systemic lupus and an idiopathic (unidentified) immune-related canine arthritis both can cause non-destructive joint infections. Because
infectious canine arthritis and immune-mediated canine arthritis calls for different
treatment protocols, diagnosis must be accurate. The immuno-suppressive drugs
used to treat the immune-mediated disease may allow the infectious type of disease
The most common cause of canine arthritis is damage to joints from accidents.
Damage to ligaments in knees and shoulders are common joint injuries received from
accidents. In time, this can lead to inflamed joints and arthritic symptoms.
Signs of canine arthritis
Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play Limping Lagging behind on walks
Difficulty rising from a resting position Yelping in pain when touched
A personality change resisting touch Treatment
Canine arthritis can sometimes be halted or prevented by surgery when x-rays
indicate joint malformations. If surgery is not indicated or advisable, relief can be
achieved with painkillers, exercise, rest, and diet. However, even over-the-counter
painkillers for canine arthritis should not be used without the advice of a
Canine arthritis patients should be under veterinary care, and the veterinarian can
determine which canine arthritis treatment is the best. Whether drugs, surgery, or
both are indicated in canine arthritis treatment, owners should make sure their pets
get plenty of rest and moderate exercise during canine arthritis treatment and
recuperation. Ultimately, the type and duration of exercise for a canine arthritis
patient will have to be restricted to reduce the pain as much as possible.
Treating canine arthritis is similar to that of human arthritis. Therapies may include:
Healthy diet and exercise to help maintain proper weight to prevent and control
Working with your veterinarian to find a drug treatment that helps relieve the pain
from canine arthritis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most common form of
pharmaceutical treatment for canine arthritis You can also use over-the-counter canine arthritis treatments with your dog, such
as pills or food containing either glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or Omega fatty
acids. Both have shown to help relieve the symptoms of canine arthritis
Non Pharmaceutical Treatments for canine arthritis
There are no miracle cures for canine arthritis. Most large dogs develop canine
arthritis as they age, so care should be taken to make old dogs with arthritis more
comfortable and improve their lives
Most large dogs develop canine arthritis as they age. Although there are no miracle
cures, much can be done to maintain them healthy. Regular and gentle exercise,
Weight control and a healthy diet is highly recommended for canine arthritis patients
Never give your dog human medication on canine arthritis without checking first with
your veterinarian. Certain medications can be toxic to dogs.