ARTHRITIS IN DOGS: SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
Ever heard the term “hip dysplasia?” If not it is an inherited orthopedic disease that is medically called Osteochondrosis and is a degenerative condition of arthritis that affects one or more joints. Other forms of arthritis in dogs can be from a joint injury or even related to an immune-mediated joint disease or a joint infection.
Osteoarthritis affects one out of five dogs during their lifetime, and it isn’t confined to just older dogs. A ruptured cruciate ligament, hip dysplasia, patella luxation, joint trauma and other joint conditions can actually cause degenerative arthritis in young dogs as well. While it is true that the Large-breed dogs are affected more often than small dogs, and dogs that are over-weight are more likely to experience symptoms of arthritis because of the stress placed on ligaments and joints it can be found in all dogs.
Symptoms will include varying degrees of lameness, stiffness, and joint pain, which will be most noticeable in the mornings or when getting up from a nap. This will cause irritability and behavioral changes that will be associated with their increasing disability and pain. It is a progressive condition and in time will make your dog’s life miserable. The way it is diagnosed is by taking joint x-rays that will show bone spurs at points where the ligaments and joint capsule attach to the bone.
While degenerative joint disease is incurable there are several treatments that can substantially improve your dog’s life. This could include physical therapy, weight control, the use of analgesics and corticosteroids that can relieve pain and actually improve function which will prevent further damage. Acupuncture is another therapy which has shown great results for arthritic dogs and can be scheduled at The Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic. .