Arthritis is a fairly common condtion in dogs, especially larger breeds and dogs that are overweight. It's characterized by an inflammation of the joints, which causes pain, lemeness, reluctance to move and more. This article will discuss the types of arthritis, symptoms that you may notice and how to manage and prevent the condition.
Types of Arthritis
The most common form of canine arthritis is osteoarthritis, which occurs in the hips, shoulders, elbows, knees or vertebral column. It can be considered either primary or secondary; secondary osteoarthritis develops as a result of some other condition, like hip dysplasia, trauma or ligament issues. Rheumatoid arthritis is tiggered by your pet's own immune system and can cause sever bone and cartilage deterioration. For some dogs, lood tests can help diagnose the condition. Septic or infective arthritis is another type of the disorder. It's caused by invasion of bacteria, fungi, or virus to the affected area. Typically, septic arthritis only affects one joint.
- Reluctance to stand up, walk, run or move normally
- Loss of appetite
Let your vet know immediately if you see these symptoms. First, your vet will rule out other problems--ligament tears, disc problems, nerve damage, etc.--using X-rays. If diagnosid of arthritis is reached, you and your vet will work together to bring your dog comfort and relief.
While arthritis can't be cured, it can be successfully managed. Osteoarthritis is usually treated with analgesic medications. Your ver will probably need to see your dog reguarly to monitor the condition on these drugs. Rheumatod arthritis is often treated with corticosteriods and infective or septic arthritis conditions can be managed with antibiotics. Certain therapies can also offer relief for many dogs. Water therapy, massage therapy, and electrical therapy are only a few examples of treatments that may help. Consult with your vet for more information on phycial therapy for dogs.
Preventing the Condition
By taking precautions, you can reduce the likelihood that your dog will develop painful and debilitating arthrits. Since obesity is the single leading cause to arthritis in dogs, take steps to keep your pet at a healthy weight--exercise your dog regulary and feed a well-balance diet. Supplements that promote joint health, like glucosamine and chondroitin, may also help. Ask your vet about specific diets and supplementation to reduce the risk of arthritis in your dog.