Arthritis is a complex condition involving inflammation of one or more joints. Canine arthritis is a common and debilitating disease that limits a dog’s ability to function and move without pain. Approximately 65 percent of dogs between the ages of seven and eleven years have some degree of arthritis, with a greater proportion occurring in larger, heavier dogs.
Types of Arthritis in Dogs
In pets, the most common form is osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative joint disease. Other types include rheumatoid arthritis and septic arthritis which is caused by joint infection. Arthritis commonly affects older and middle-aged pets.
Why Dogs Get Arthritis
Arthritis has many causes. Injury to a joint, such as ligament ruptures or bone fractures, can cause arthritis. Hormonal conditions such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease, and infections such as Lyme disease can also cause or exacerbate arthritis. Arthritis can result from developmental disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia or osteochondritis, which is a problem with the cartilage lining the joints. These developmental disorders can be caused by a combination of genetics (i.e., passed down from mom or dad) and environment (i.e. imbalanced nutrition and excessive exercise at a young age). While arthritis can also be caused by old-age wear and tear, it is usually a secondary disease with an underlying problem. If the underlying cause is not treated, arthritis develops slowly, and the symptoms gets worse over time. Any dog who has ongoing lameness or stiffness may be suffering from arthritis, but large dogs (heavier than 60 pounds), working dogs, canine athletes, and obese dogs are all at higher risk for arthritis because more stress is applied to their joints as they move.
How to Treat Arthritis In Your Pet
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce swelling, stiffness, and joint pain in humans, and they can do the same for your dog. They can bring relief to a dog with arthritis, or one who’s just had surgery. But don’t give your pooch something from your medicine cabinet.
- Immune mediated and rheumatoid arthritis are treated with high doses of cortcosteroids. Usually you will see dramatic improvement in your pet. The medication is usually long-term.
- Septic Arthritis involves the determining of the type of microorganisms involved and its antibiotic sensitivity. Antibiotics are usually given for about a month along with pain relievers for the pain and inflammation.
- Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is defined as the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. Chronic joint inflammation caused by deterioration of joint cartilage. Older dogs are at the highest risk.Your vet may prescribe a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to relieve the pain They may also suggest a joint supplement like glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate, two of the components of cartilage. Omega-3 fatty acids are another supplement given to dogs with osteoarthritis due to their anti-inflammatory benefits.
We Provide Senior Wellness for Pets
Although the age at which dogs and cats are considered a senior can vary by breed, we like to start seeing pets for bi-annual exams around age seven. Like people, older pets have an increased risk of kidney disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, senility, and general weakness. Staying on top of these issues helps improve the quality of life for your pet in the senior years. Mobility challenges and behavior changes are also more common with older pets.
Contact us (513-831-3030) to learn more about Arthritis!
Gwendolyn Steffen DVM is a full-service veterinary medical facility offering both traditional and alternative veterinary medicine. Our goal is to give your pet a long, happy, and healthy life. Dr. Gwendolyn Steffen and her professional staff seek to provide the best possible medical care, surgical care, and dental care for your pets.
>> Learn More