5 Signs Your Dog Could Be Suffering From Early Arthritis
As your dog ages, it’s inevitable that it will experience a decline in health and mobility. You might notice as the years go by that it’s not as energetic as it used to be and it easily gets tired after walking or playing with you.
Most dog parents respond to these changes as a normal part of growing up. While this may be true, it’s also possible that your dog might be suffering from arthritis. It’s important to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s reduced mobility so that you can help it accordingly. Aside from taking it to the vet, there are a few signs that you should look out for which point to arthritis.
But first, let’s take a look at what exactly is arthritis and how you can spot it.
Dog arthritis typically manifests in two different ways. It can come as a degenerative joint disease which is also known as osteoarthritis. This condition develops as a result of gradual cartilage loss. Cartilage acts as a cushion that prevents the bones from rubbing up against each other. A lack of cartilage can cause pain because there’s nothing to prevent the bones from rubbing up against one another.
The second type of arthritis that dogs experience is known as an inflammatory joint disease (IJD). This type can happen due to fungal or bacterial infections and manifests as the complete destruction of the cartilage. IJD can also be caused by genetic deficiencies and tick-borne diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, for example.
Either way, most dog owners have a hard time identifying when their dog has arthritis. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide with the five most common signs to look out for in arthritic dogs.
Dogs limp all the time, and in most cases, it can go away on its own. But, when limping persists over a long period of time, it could be a sign of arthritis. It often starts with your dog favoring one leg over the other, or you might notice that the limping mostly happens in the morning or evenings.
A dog that suffers from arthritis will have thinner legs due to muscle atrophy and lack of movement. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s physique, so it’s easier to notice changes that happen over time.
If this happens, getting your dog a pet ramp or stairs will be beneficial in helping their mobility.
Generally, dogs have a different reaction to pain because their threshold is different. You may notice that your dog is more irritable and tends to snap easily when you pet or groom it. It may get to the point that your dog doesn’t want to held or put on a leash due to the pain, which is a symptom of arthritis.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for arthritis in dogs. But, there are quite a few helpful treatments that you can try. If you notice your dog showing one or a combination of the above symptoms, it may be a good idea to have it checked by your vet so your pooch can start receiving the treatment it needs.
If the vet makes a diagnosis that identifies arthritis as the underlying cause, then he may prescribe certain treatments like a change in diet, adding supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, getting regular exercise and weight loss. The vet might also prescribe medications like chondroprotective and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
However, if your dog is experiencing a severe form of arthritis, there’s nothing to stop you from trying more aggressive treatments like hydrotherapy treadmill, laser therapy, vet rehab, stem cell therapy, and acupuncture.