Causes and symptoms of canine osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis in dogs

Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects all animals, including dogs and of course also humans. Osteoarthritis in dogs consists of the wear and tear of the cartilage between the bones, which act as protectors, preventing the bones from rubbing against each other.

Due to certain factors that we will explain below, it is possible that these cartilages deteriorate over the years, causing great pain to those who suffer from this problem. Imagine what happens if the bones are left without this protection in the joints, they rub against each other causing great discomfort.

We will explain the causes for canine osteoarthritis, what are its symptoms in order to detect it in time and how we must act so that the treatment is effective. Spend the next two minutes of your life to inform yourself about the health of your puppy, he will thank you.

Index of contents

  • 1 Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs
  • 2 Why do dogs have osteoarthritis? What factors cause canine osteoarthritis?
  • 3 Treatment for dogs with osteoarthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs

The wear and tear of the cartilage that protect the joints is called osteoarthritis, it is a non-contagious disease, although it is hereditary on some occasions, which causes great pain to dogs that suffer from it.

The main symptoms that we can see in a dog with osteoarthritis are:

  • Refusing to go up or down stairs: Symptom that you are in pain when doing this simple exercise that requires putting pressure on a large number of joints. Dogs with osteoarthritis or early osteoarthritis will be reluctant to go up or down stairs.
  • Refusing to be petted: On many occasions due to pain, they can avoid our caresses by being a little more bland or unfriendly than usual. It is completely normal, our dog will prevent us from petting him where he is in pain.
  • Lack of mood to play or run: We continue with the same problem, the pain in the joints will make our dog less and less eager to give movement to his body, so he will not play or run like before.
  • Lameness or strange gait: When we appreciate that our dog limps, even intermittently, it may be due to osteoarthritis. The same happens if we observe that he walks strangely, moving his rear or front legs wrong.
  • Lack of appetite and discouragement: When the pain caused by osteoarthritis is very strong, our dog may not want to eat. His mood will be reduced and he will go from being an active dog to being a sad dog.
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How you see the symptoms can be different but they all have something in common, the pain. We all know when our dog is not well, if we see that he has pain in any joint, the best thing to do is consult with the vet to find out whether or not he suffers from canine osteoarthritis. A simple x-ray is enough to determine it.

Why do dogs have osteoarthritis? What factors cause canine osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease that can affect all animals and although it is not a contagious disease, but originates from wear and tear, the truth is that in a large number of cases it is inherited.

Surely you have heard of the hip dysplasia in dogs, is an inherited disease that affects the joints of the dog’s hip part. Dysplasia is an arthrosis that affects those specific joints.

Dogs that do not have inherited osteoarthritis can also suffer from osteoarthritis, these are the main reasons why a dog can develop canine osteoarthritis:

  • Large dogs: Dogs of large or very large breeds are the most likely to develop osteoarthritis. Since puppies grow very fast and on many occasions their joints do not develop / function properly, due to the excessively fast rate of growth of their body.
  • Overweight dogs: Overweight dogs are very prone to canine osteoarthritis, because that overweight continually punishes the joints until it ends up wearing them down.
  • Dogs with high physical activity: Dogs love to play and run, but if we abuse physical activity it will take its toll over the years as osteoarthritis. Continued excessive exercise is the source of wear and tear on your joints, which will wear out sooner or later causing much pain.
  • Dogs with little physical activity: It is as bad to spend exercising as falling short. A dog needs to go out to play and walk every day to stay in shape, not doing it, can suppose that his joints stop lubricating correctly and an osteoarthritis originates.

    dog getting a massage

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How you see there are two ways in which your dog can suffer osteoarthritis, the first is due to genetic inheritance and the second is due to wear and tear or lack of stimulation in the joints.

Treatment for dogs with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis itself cannot be cured, that is, it is not something that can be treated with medications and can resolve itself. It is a permanent disease that can be treated, but to improve the quality of life of the dog.

With a good veterinary treatment and following these tips and home tricks, we can make our dog be the same as ever, free of pain and enjoying life.

The first thing we should do is go to the vet, it is mandatory because we need to perform some plates / x-rays to determine which joints are causing pain and in what state is osteoarthritis. Some canine osteoarthritis is highly developed while others are mild, the sooner it is detected and treatment is started, the better the life of our dog.

The vet will analyze the x-rays and prescribe the medications that he deems appropriate. Normally it is anti-inflammatory and pain relievers, in this way it seeks to reduce pain as much as possible, so that our dog can lead a normal life.

Surely he also prescribes natural condoprotectors (pills) for us to give our dog with food. The condo protectors will help to improve the state of the joint, even if they do not repair it completely. This is the veterinary treatment that our dog must surely follow.

On some occasions, in the most extreme cases, you may recommend implanting artificial prostheses. We must assess the age and condition of the dog before undergoing an operation of this caliber.

dog playing

On the other hand, we must be aware that our dog suffers from this disease, we must adapt to it and do what we can to improve its quality of life. With these homemade tricks and tips we can improve osteoarthritis in the dog.

  • Putting our dog’s bed near a radiator: The cold causes osteoarthritis to greatly increase pain. That our dog is warm at home will help reduce the pain. We can place the bed near a radiator (taking care not to burn it) or we can put a bed or thermal blanket, which creates heat artificially for our dog.
  • Use hot water bottles: The use of the typical hot water bottles for muscle pain can be a great help for our puppy. We can put a hot water bottle (that does n
    ot burn) on the painful area. That will help you a lot.
  • Regulate dog’s weight: An obese dog will suffer much more pain than if it were thin, because the joints must support a lot of weight. Putting our dog on a diet is mandatory if he has a few extra kilos. A good dog food Low calorie can be a perfect solution.
  • Eliminate the exercise: It is essential to stop wearing down the joints of our dog, for this we must completely forget to run our dog or take him to exercise with us. He should just walk at his own pace and play with other dogs whenever he wants. Canine osteoarthritis is evolutionary, if the exercise is intense, it will get worse.
  • Avoid cold: As we have indicated, cold is an aggravating factor in canine osteoarthritis. If we are in winter, we must protect our dog from the cold (no sleeping outside the house). If necessary, we can put our dog some special coat for dogs or protector for the affected area.
  • Massaging our dog: A good massage can help ease joint pain. In the same way, there are many people who claim that canine acupuncture also offers good results.
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How do you see when a dog suffers from osteoarthritis, things change a lot, we must change their life habits and take care of them with the advice given so that they can have a more or less normal life.

Pain is the main problem in osteoarthritis, so even if you follow the advice and tricks at home, you should go to a vet if or if you will need to take added medication.