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Arthritis In Dogs - Canine Arthritis
Arthritis in dogs is a painful, progressive and degenerative disease causing inflammation of a joint which can inhibit movement. More properly called osteoarthritis, although there are other types of arthritis, this is the most common, the most easily treated and is the focus of this article.
The cause of canine arthritis in most cases is the simple wear and tear to bones and joints over time. Arthritis often occurs at a point of pervious injury or when there is a history of infection such as lyme disease.
Osteoarthritis mainly occurs in older dogs over the age of 7 years and is more widely seen in larger breeds, such a German Shepherds,Labradors and Golden Retrievers. Overweight dogs are also more likely to suffer from arthritis. In young dogs it may be caused by failure of proper bone development.
Arthritis in dogs is frequently accompanied by hip dysplasia. Together these two ailments can seriously impair your dog’s mobility and quality of life.
Symptoms are subtle to start with such as decreased interest in activity or lagging behind on walks and progress to more obvious ones:
(1) difficulty getting up and down
(2) reluctance to run, jump, or climb stair
(3) stiff, sore or swollen joints
(5) sensitivity to cold
(6) behavioral changes such as aggression, withdrawal or irritability
Treatment - while there is no way to reverse the problem at present, arthritis can be treated with medications or less often, hip-replacement and other types of joint surgery. Most dogs will improve with anti-inflammatory medications which can reduce the pain and swelling of damaged joints caused by osteoarthritis and increase mobility. Be aware; however, of possible side effects involving the digestive system, kidneys, or liver.
When it comes to treating arthritis in dogs, many pet owners and veterinarians take an integrative approach, combining prescription medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with supplements and alternative treatments such as acupuncture. Some of the more popular and sometimes effective supplements are glucosamine, chondroitin, msm, ester-c, and hyaluronic acid. Many dog owners have reported positive outcomes using these natural supplements.
Weight loss can help relieve stress on joints. Older large breed dogs tend to be overweight. This discourages them from getting the exercise they need and may aggravate their arthritis. The more weight on those poor old joints, the harder it is to move around.
Prevention is one of the kindest and most effective measures you can take. Keeping your dog in shape through regular exercise and proper nutrition for optimal health is your best line of defense against this painful disease, as well as your best approach after your dog has been diagnosed. Another key is to maintain proper weight and limit snacks and foods that can aggravate inflammation.
Much can be done to make arthritic dogs more comfortable and improve their lives.
(1) Prevent stressing weak painful joints or falling down - place dog gates across stairs.
(2) Elevate food and water dishes.
(3) Use portable ramps or steps - for home and vehicle.
(4) Place a rubber mat under your dog's dishes to stabilize them while your dog is eating or drinking.
(5) Cushion joints with orthopedic dog beds that are at least four inches thick.
The bottom line is arthritis in dogs needs veterinary care. if you suspect your best buddy has arthritis, follow the advice of your veterinarian.
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