Arthritis is a very common medical condition in dogs of all ages. The condition usually results in swelling of joints which is accompanied by heat and stiffness. If the condition is allowed for sometime without treatment, the stiffness will increase and the dog may become immobile. This condition may create so much pain in your pet that its overall life would be negatively affected. The following are some of the major symptoms that could give you a hint that your dog is suffering from arthritis.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
- Limping – If you observe your dog limping, then it could be an indication that it is suffering from arthritis. If you note that the dog is favoring one side of the body as compared to the other when walking, this could indicate the presence of arthritis.
- Stiffness – Stiffness of joints is a common symptom among all dogs suffering from arthritis. This stiffness will make it hard for the dog to stand and also prevent your dog from walking fast. You will note that the stiffness will get worse after the dog has spent many hours sleeping.
- Weakness – legs which have been attacked by arthritis tend to get weaker with time. Such a dog will have difficulties in doing activities that requires her to be standing for longer periods of time like eating for example. If you note that your dog is losing balance easily, you should get it checked for arthritis.
- Trouble in using the stairs – A dog that has pain in the joints may find it very painful to go up or down the stairs. Such a dog may refuse to use the stairs completely. If you note that your dog has just changed and no longer wants to use stairs, it would be appropriate to have him checked for arthritis.
- Changes in personality – If the dog becomes too lazy such that all he want is to sleep all day long, it could be an indication that it’s not feeling well. A dog suffering from arthritis may show reduced interest in chasing balls, walking, playing and so on.
In order for arthritis successfully, then it must be properly diagnosed. Diagnosing the condition in dogs is a little bit more difficult than in human beings due to the fact that these pets are unable to say exactly where they are feeling the pain. It is only through observing their physical behavior that you can get a clue that it is having the condition. Proper diagnosis is important due to the fact that there are many other conditions which may have the same symptoms as arthritis. Apart from physical behaviors, other exercises which can help to diagnose the conditions include blood tests, x-rays and MRIs.
Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs
After a successful diagnosis, your veterinarian will be able to determine the severity of the condition and this information will help him in choosing the best treatment option. In less serious circumstances, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids may be administered to reduce swelling and the resulting pain. This will make it easier for the dog to walk and also to sleep. There are also dog arthritis supplements which may be used to bring about healing in the affected regions. It is important to ensure that the veterinarian has approved all the drugs used to avoid a situation where you could poison your dog. Also note that steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs for humans will not be appropriate for your dog.
Another viable treatment option when it comes to dogs arthritis is surgery. This procedure is best suited to younger dogs due to their ability to heal faster that the older ones. Arthroscopic surgery is conducted to remove pieces of a bone that has been damaged. Arthroscopic surgery may also be conducted to replace the entire bone that has been damaged. Another surgical procedure is arthrodesis. It is usually performed on more complicated situations where the veterinarian chooses to fuse the affected bones. The veterinarian takes all the factors into consideration before deciding on whether the dog is a suitable candidate for surgery.
Arthritis in dogs may also be treated by taking a holistic approach. There are different options that may be used here for example herbal treatments, acupuncture, massage therapy and so on.
[See also: The Best Arthritis Treatment for Dogs]
With early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of dog arthritis you will be able to limit the amount of discomfort your dog feels as well as reduce the damage caused by this degenerative condition.