Arthritis In Dogs

Arthritis is a common problem in our canine friends. Approximately 25% of our beloved furry friends suffer from this condition. Arthritis can affect dogs of all ages, but it is more common in older dogs. Approximately 80 percent of dogs over the age of eight experience this condition. Continue reading as a local Holly Springs, MS veterinarian discusses this painful condition.

Understanding Canine Arthritis

Arthritis affects both dogs and people in a similar way. This condition occurs when the soft tissues surrounding their joints deteriorate, resulting in bone-on-bone contact. This is quite uncomfortable, as you can probably imagine. It can also lead to a decline in Fido’s health and overall quality of life.

There are various types of canine arthritis, but the most frequently observed in dogs is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease.

Arthritis can cause considerable discomfort for dogs, hindering their ability to engage in activities like running, jumping, and playing. Your pooch may become less active, leading to a decrease in muscle mass and an increased risk of obesity, which will in turn put him at risk for several other issues. Ask your Holly Springs, MS vet for more information. 

Are There Any Dog Breeds That Are More Likely To Get Arthritis?

Although arthritis can affect any dog, certain breeds are more susceptible to this condition. It is quite common among many larger dogs. Some dogs that are at high risk include the German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, English Mastiff, St. Bernard, Newfoundland, Old English Sheepdog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Dachshund, Rottweiler, Samoyed, Boxer, Chow Chow, and English Springer Spaniel.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Arthritis In Dogs?

Arthritis typically begins gradually, which can unfortunately make it very easy to overlook the initial signs. 

Your furry friend may appear stiff and uncomfortable, and he may limp a bit, particularly upon rising. Initially, that limp will gradually improve as your pet starts to move around. As his condition advances, it will become increasingly noticeable.

Another issue to look out for is difficulty getting in and out of the car, walking up and down stairs, and even getting up and down. Your dog may also show signs of discomfort when you touch sore spots, so you may notice things such as flinching or attempting to move away from being petted in those specific spots.

Here are a few additional red flags that you’d want to watch for:

  • Decreased enthusiasm for play
  • Reduced mobility
  • Limited ability to engage in physical activity
  • licking or nibbling on sore spots, especially on paws and legs
  • Tiredness 
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawal

It’s important to note that symptoms can occasionally worsen rapidly. That’s because cartilage lacks nerve endings. Fido may not really feel the effects of arthritis until that tissue has significantly deteriorated.

If you happen to come across any of these warning signs, it’s important to reach out to your Holly Springs, MS veterinarian immediately. It is ideal to identify and address an issue as early as possible for optimal results.

What Causes Arthritis In Dogs?

Arthritis is often caused by the natural process of wear and tear on the body. Fido’s joints can definitely be affected by all the running, playing, and jumping. Over time, the cushioning tissue gradually becomes thinner and less elastic.

However, there are additional factors that play a role. Fido’s vulnerability may be elevated after an injury or infection. Excessive or insufficient activity, as well as the incorrect type of exercise, might aggravate these problems. Dogs that experienced health problems or inadequate exercise routines during their early years may also face higher risks. Our furry companions undergo rapid growth, which can significantly strain their bodies. Paying special attention to Fido’s diet and exercise regime during the crucial (yet undeniably adorable) puppy stage is essential. 

Other illnesses, such as diabetes, can sometimes trigger arthritis as well. Ask your vet for more information. 

What Are The Available Treatments For Canine Arthritis?

There are numerous treatment options available, along with various measures you can take at home to assist your beloved canine companion. The available options will, of course, depend on the stage and severity of Fido’s condition. Arthritis is categorized into stages:

  • Stage 0: Fido displays no indications of or risk factors for arthritis.
  • Stage 1: The pup’s tests and screenings show no abnormalities, but there is still a potential risk.
  • Stage 2: Mild arthritis
  • Stage 3: Moderate arthritis
  • Stage 4: Advanced arthritis

Your vet will be able to determine what stage your pup is in after evaluating him. This will also factor into determining the best course of action. As far as treatment options, they may include surgery, medication, weight management, physical therapy, massage, and other options. 

Just keep in mind that treatments are always provided based on individual circumstances. Your vet can discuss the available options with you once your furry friend has been thoroughly evaluated.

Caring For Fido

Make sure that your furry friend has a comfortable bed to rest in. Orthopedic beds are an excellent choice due to the added support they provide.

It is crucial to manage Fido’s weight as well. Obesity will only worsen the problem. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to push your furry friend too hard. Short and frequent walks are ideal for most pups. Make sure to closely monitor Fido’s behavior and bring him indoors when he appears fatigued.

Maintaining regular pawdicures will also be beneficial. Having long nails can make it difficult for your pup to maintain good traction and can also alter the angle of their toes when they walk or run. Both of these are not satisfactory!

You might consider getting your furry companion pet ramps or stairs to assist them in accessing the car and, if permitted, getting on and off the bed.

If you have floors, it might be a good idea to place runners or area rugs to enhance the overall look and feel of your space. This will ensure that your furry companion can maintain a secure hold, while also offering protection in the event of any accidental slips or falls.

Arthritis symptoms can worsen in cold or wet weather. Ensure that Fido remains warm and dry during gloomy weather!

Ensuring that Fido maintains a healthy diet and exercise routine is crucial. It’s important to note that the recommendations for each puppy may vary, so it’s best to consult your vet for guidance. Prepare yourself for the irresistible charm of that adorable furry face, especially if your dog happens to be a bit on the plump side. It’s best to steer clear of feeding your furry friend processed human foods, as they can potentially lead to increased inflammation. In addition, supplements can provide assistance.

If you choose to bathe your dog at home, it might be worth considering the option of taking him to a professional groomer. Getting in and out of the tub might pose a challenge for Fido. Groomers have stations that are designed to be more accessible for pups.

Consult your veterinarian for personalized guidance.

Schedule An Appointment At Our Holly Springs, MS Pet Clinic

Are you aware or have any concerns that your pet may be suffering from arthritis? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, your nearby pet clinic, if you have any questions or concerns. We are always happy to help you at your Holly Springs, MS veterinary clinic!

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