Dog Joint Problems – Every Dog Has Them at Some Point in their Lives!
11 February, 2015
Our dogs’ joints, just like humans, take a pounding from running after tennis balls, hiking and jogging around with their pals. Joint problems are common in many dogs and can affect them in a variety ways from minor irritation to great pain and discomfort. Joint problems can hinder walking, exercising, or performing many other tasks associated with your pup’s everyday life and is no fun for anyone!
Our dogs’ elbows and hips are among the most commonly affected areas for joint issues and range from dog arthritis to dysplasia. It is important for you to know the details of dog joint problems so that you can help your dog stay pain free and in good condition.
Dog joint pain is very easy to identify
If your dog is suffering from joint pain, it is fairly easy to identify, as it will interfere with his movement and mobility. There are some signs you should watch out for that can help you recognize if your dog needs treatment for joint problems and include the following: awkward movements, stiffness, difficulty standing, limping, refusal to jump or climb stairs, an aversion to petting, swelling of the joints and sometimes even bad moody or bad temper from the pain.
If you notice that your dog is showing one or more of these symptoms, you should take your pup to your veterinarian to determine the cause of his pain. Remember that your dog may be suffering from more than just joint pain if he or she exhibits any of these warning signs.
What causes joint problems in our dogs?
Dog joint problems are caused by many disorders, most of which manifests itself in a form of dog arthritis. There are four general categories of joint pain:
1. Hip Dysplasia and other developmental problems:
Hip dysplasia and similar conditions like elbow dysplasia are developmental, genetically inherited conditions. They occur when the joints do not grow properly and become dysfunctional, causing arthritic pain and discomfort.
2. Cruciate ligament problems
Cruciate ligament problems are among the most common dog arthritis problems. They involve the wear and degeneration of a dog’s ligaments as he gets older, leading to arthritis and joint pain. (Humans, particularly basketball players, tear this all the time!)
3. Metabolic disease:
There is a type of hemophilia, can cause excess bleeding in the joints, which may lead to arthritis-like symptoms.
4. Other diseases that could result in joint pain:
Many other diseases can cause arthritis or similar joint pain in dogs. These include obesity, Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and hyperparathyroidism. Your veterinarian should be consulted if you suspect that your pet may have any of these diseases.
Treatment for joint issues in dogs
As always, you should first visit your veterinarian so that he or she can diagnose exactly what is causing the pain in your dog’s joints. However, there are some things you can do to help reduce pain and discomfort for your dog.
Dietary changes: Eating the proper diet can help your dog fight joint pain. A balanced, vitamin and amino-acid rich diet will help your dog stay in shape and combat arthritis.
Exercise: Getting the proper exercise will also help your dog fight joint problems. Conditioning is essential to staying healthy and at the right weight for your dog.
Medication: Your veterinarian may recommend certain medications that can help reduce pain and swelling in your dog’s joints. This should only be used in addition to diet and exercise, and only at your veterinarian’s recommendation.
Surgery: In more severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend surgery. Surgeries range in scale from simple cleaning procedures to joint replacements, but are usually only used when absolutely necessary.
Prevention of dog joint issues
The best way to approach joint pain problems in your dog is to avoid them completely. This isn’t always possible, as joint problems are often genetic and occur more often in certain breeds, but there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of developing dog arthritis. As mentioned above, if you try to manage your dog’s diet and exercise, make sure your dog stays at a healthy weight, and is getting the right, and a sufficient amount of vitamins, it is a big step towards prevention. And, of course, keep all your veterinarian check-up so your vet can measure all of the above!