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Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis in dogs

Arthritis in Dogs

Many canine senior citizens become stiff and sore in their joints as they age. However, there is much you can do to slow the development of arthritis and to manage the symptoms if they occur.

The cause of canine arthritis ranges from immune medicated diseases to viral infections. The word ‘arthritis’ originates from the Greek words ‘arthro’ and ‘itis’; translating to joint and inflammation, respectively. Basically, arthritis means joint inflammation.

Generally, people associate arthritis with the disease older dogs have with sore joint symptoms.

What Causes Arthritis?

Arthritis begins with the deterioration of joint cartilage between the ends of bones. Gradually, the cartilage decays down to expose the bones. As arthritis advances, the cartilage continues to break down and is replaced by new bone, thinning the joint fluid and cushioning in the joint.

What starts the deterioration of the cartilage? Several causes have been found:

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

The first sign to look for if your dog is developing arthritis is a limp or an irregular walk. Your dog will be avoiding the aching joint and attempting to move it as little as possible. Cold or rainy weather, as well as early mornings or periods after not using the joint for extended periods of time, such as a nap, will often worsen your dog’s limp.

Throughout arthritis’s progress, he will become less mobile and enjoy his routine less and less. Activities such as leaping on the couch, playing fetch, climbing in your lap, or longer walks may become too painful for him. Often times on the leg with arthritis the muscles will deteriorate from lack of use and appear much smaller than the adjacent leg. Also, dogs have been known to nip at the sore area to sooth the pain, and many owners will mistake this as a skin problem.

Treating the Pain of Arthritis

Treating your dog’s arthritis boils down to two main steps: pain management and getting the joint healthy again, or at least as healthy as possible. Don’t worry, your dog has a handful of options out there for help.

Unfortunately, arthritis has no known cure and is continually degrading on the afflicted joint. Regardless, enduring chronic pain isn’t something your dog has to suffer. Your dog can still enjoy a proper, happy, and fun life with the correct diet, medications, treatments, and modified living conditions.