Arthritis is a painful and progressive disease of the joints. Often, it is seen in older dogs but can affect young animals as well. Generally, this disease worsens over time and can cause more and more discomfort. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it is commonly seen in the hips, elbows, knees, carpus (wrist), hock (ankle) and spine.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
There are many signs our animals may show if they are experiencing arthritis. This can range from appearing stiff and sore to refusing to use the stairs or jumping onto furniture. They may also be limping and licking their sore joints. You may see abnormal gait, soreness when touched, refusal to walk or play, decreased appetite and weight gain. Often, they feel worse in the morning (or after sleeping), when the weather is cold and damp and after exercise.
What causes arthritis in dogs?
Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the cartilage cushion in the joints. It can be caused by an injury, general “wear and tear” from being active, obesity or conformation issues which can become hereditary. Weight gain from not being able to stay active is also a concern as it can create more stress on the joints and cause arthritis to progress more quickly.
What are some treatment options for arthritis in dogs?
Treatments can depend on the severity of the disease. If your pet is overweight, we will begin with a diet to reduce stress on the joints. We can also add in joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin (MSM). The veterinarian may prescribe anti-inflammatories and/or painkillers. Depending on your pet’s case, our doctors may suggest other therapies such as laser, massage and hydrotherapy, and acupuncture to help your pet cope with arthritis.
Can I give my dog Aspirin?
We do not recommend giving any human medications to your pets without consulting your veterinarian. Some medicines may be harmful, especially if dosed incorrectly. Your veterinarian can prescribe an effective remedy to help with arthritis.