If you think arthritis, that debilitating disease characterized by chronic pain in the joints, only occurs in humans, think again. Not only humans can be affected by arthritis, dogs can develop many forms of arthritis too.
Canine arthritis can be caused by trauma, aging, ruptured ligaments or tendons, dysplasia or generative joint disease and lack of activity.
Different Forms of Canine Arthritis
Is the most common form of canine arthritis, and is also known as degenerative joint disease. This for of arthritis is a slowly progressive disease involving the breakdown of the articular cartilage in a joint. If this cartilage is damaged, osteoarthritis is set off. Permanent damage, pain and inflammation are results of the body’s inability to repair the injured cartilage.
This form of arthritis results from growth of microorganisms in a joint, or the spread of an infection to a joint in a different place in the body, such as Lyme disease, which is a tick-transmitted microorganism that can affect one or several joints.
This is an uncommon canine arthritis and generally affects middle-aged to older small-breed dogs.
Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Is a form of arthritis that is a polysystemic disease and often affects the joints. The disease results in the body’s immune system attacking components of the body’s own cells, that results in damage to many organs including the joints, kidneys, lungs and skin.
Symptoms and Signs of Canine Arthritis
Unlike humans, dogs have no way of communicating the pain suffered because of arthritis. They cannot come right up to you and say that they are suffering pain.
Neither are they prone to displaying signs of weakness. Dogs are still animals and animals are often stoic as a form of survival tactic. So the active role of recognizing the signs of arthritis in dogs falls on your shoulders and you must be vigilant in this task. These are some symptoms of arthritis.
- The dog appears to be in pain, unwilling to be picked up or touched in certain areas.
- Favoring a Limb
- Difficulty in climbing stairs
- Liking affected part of joints
- Reluctance to be active
There are a variety of treatments for canine arthritis but unfortunately no cure. The main element of treating canine arthritis is pain management. Pain relieving lotions are a safe way to treat the aches and stiffness of canine arthritis. In severe cases, sometimes surgery is needed, however less extreme treatments are recommended for dogs. The best way is always to consult a veterinarian if you suspect your dog to have arthritis; the vet can prescribe medication to reduce swelling and discomfort and discuss treatment.
A newer treatment for canine arthritis is dietary. Sulfates like glucosamine and chondroitin have been found helpful in relieving inflammation and reducing the degenerative process in some dogs. They attract fluid to the join’s cartilage system helping the body repair damaged joints while keeping the cartilage destroying enzymes under control. It’s also been said to work as a preventative measure for dogs susceptible to arthritis.
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