!Header Logo

Neshoba County Animal Hospital

!Call To Action

Give us a call! 601-656-6692

!Give us a call button

Call Now! 601-656-6692

Arthritis In Dogs: What All Pet Owners Should Know

May 1 2024

Arthritis is a very common issue among our furry pals. Approximately 25% of our canine friends suffer from this condition. While arthritis can affect dogs of all ages, it is far more widely seen in older pups. In fact, approximately 80 percent of pooches over the age of eight are afflicted. Continue reading as a local Philadelphia, MS veterinarian discusses arthritis in dogs.

What Is Canine Arthritis?

While many different types of arthritis can affect dogs, osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most frequently encountered. Osteoarthritis affects dogs and people in a similar way. It happens as the cushioning tissues in the joints wear thin. As those tendons and ligaments wear away, it eventually results in bone rubbing against bone. This is quite painful, as one can imagine.

Arthritis can cause significant discomfort for our four-legged friends, hindering their ability to run, jump, and play. This causes a sort of Catch-22. Your dog may become less active, leading to a decrease in muscle mass and an increased risk of obesity. These things in turn make it harder for him to stay active.

Which Dog Breeds Are The Most Susceptible To Arthritis?

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

If you aren’t sure what breed FIdo is, consider getting a doggy DNA test done for him.

What Are The Signs Of Arthritis In Dogs?

Arthritis typically begins gradually, so it can be easy to overlook the initial signs. Limping is likely the most common one. Your furry friend may appear stiff and uncomfortable, particularly when he first rises. The limp may improve as your pet becomes more active and starts to move. However, as his condition advances, it will become increasingly noticeable.

Fido may also have trouble getting in and out of the car, going up and down stairs, and even standing up or sitting down. He may not want to let you touch his more sensitive areas, showing signs of discomfort by flinching or trying to move away.

Here are a few additional factors to consider:

  • Stiff gait
  • Lack of mobility
  • Decreased enthusiasm for play
  • Limited ability to engage in physical activity
  • licking or nibbling on sore spots, especially on paws and legs
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing

These symptoms can sometimes get worse very quickly. That’s because cartilage lacks nerve endings. Fido may not feel the full effects of his arthritis until the tissue has significantly deteriorated.

If you spot any of these warning signs, contact your veterinarian right away. When treating medical conditions in pets, it is always important to identify and address any issues as early as possible.

What Makes Dogs Get Arthritis?

Arthritis is usually caused by the natural process of wear and tear on the body. Fido’s joints can definitely be affected by all that running, playing, and jumping he loved so much during his youth.

However, there are other factors that play a role. Fido may be more susceptible following an injury or infection. Arthritis can also be aggravated by excessive exercise, insufficient exercise, or inappropriate exercise. Dogs that experienced health issues or inadequate exercise routines during their early years may face higher risks as well. Our canine companions grow very quickly. That can significantly strain their bodies. Proper diet and exercise during that crucial (yet undeniably cute) puppy stage is essential, as problems at this stage can lead or contribute to many future issues. Other illnesses, like diabetes, can sometimes trigger arthritis as well.

How Is Arthritis In Dogs Treated?

There are numerous treatment options available, along with various measures you can take at home to assist your furry friend. The available options will depend on the stage and severity of Fido’s condition. Arthritis is categorized into four different stages. There is an initial stage, known as stage zero.

Stage 0: Fido exhibits 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

As far as treatment goes, here are some of the main options:

  • Medication can be effective in reducing both pain and inflammation.  
  • Surgery may be an option for some pups.
  • Laser therapy is a painless and noninvasive procedure that can assist in promoting the body’s innate healing abilities. It’s a highly effective treatment for canine arthritis.
  • Physical therapy can be beneficial as well. 
  • Fido may benefit from practices like massage and acupuncture.
  • Swimming may be a viable choice for certain dogs, assuming Fido enjoys it and is physically suited for the activity.
  • Supplements can also help. Arthritic pups often benefit from specific things, such as glucosamine and fish oil. It is important to consult with your veterinarian before introducing anything new to Fido.

Treatments are always provided based on a pet’s individual circumstances. Here at Neshoba, we may use thermal imaging to provide a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis. Your vet can discuss the available options with you after thoroughly evaluating your furry companion.

How Do I Care For My Arthritic Dog At Home?

First, make sure that your furry friend has a comfy doggy bed to relax in as he’s dreaming of chasing squirrels or finding a huge stash of bacon. Orthopedic beds are an excellent choice due to the added support they provide.

Here are our top seven tips:

  1. Weight management is very important. Obesity will only worsen the problem.
  2. Fido will need a suitable doggy exercise regime. Naturally, you wouldn’t want to push your furry friend too hard. Short and frequent walks are ideal for most arthritic dogs. Keep an eye on your pup on walks and bring him indoors when he appears fatigued.
  3. Maintaining regular pawdicures is also beneficial. Long nails can make it difficult for your pup to maintain good traction and can also alter the angle of his toes against the ground.
  4. You might consider getting your furry companion some pet ramps or stairs to help him with getting in and out of the car and accessing the bed (if permitted).
  5. If you have floors, it might be a good idea to get some runners or area rugs. These will help your furry pal get better traction, and will also offer some protection in the event of any accidental slips or falls.
  6. Arthritis symptoms can worsen in cold and wet weather. Keep your furry bestie warm and dry in gloomy weather!
  7. If you usually bathe your dog at home, you may want to start taking him to a professional dog groomer. Fido may find it hard to get in and out of the tub. Plus, being picked up and/or held can be hard for arthritic dogs. Groomers’ stations are often easier for dogs to get in and out of.

Consult your Philadelphia, MS veterinarian for personalized guidance.

Schedule An Appointment At Our Philadelphia, 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 Philadelphia, MS  clinic, if you have any questions or concerns.

!Single Blog You Might Also Like

You might also like

A Look At The Salty Licorice Cat

We’re turning over the spotlight to a brand-new kitty today! The Salty Licorice Cat has

Arthritis In Dogs: What All Pet Owners Should Know

Arthritis is a very common issue among our furry pals. Approximately 25% of our canine

Pallas Cat Day

You’ve heard the saying that every dog has its day. Well, we think every kitty
1 2 3 70