Are you aware that one in five dogs develops osteoarthritis? Canine Arthritis Management reveals that arthritis affects around 80% of dogs above eight years of age and up to 35% of dogs of all ages.
This degenerative joint disease affects the back, hip, and legs of dogs. Canines with this disease lose the articular cartilage surface in their joints over time.
Osteoarthritis is common among older dogs as well as some large breeds that are genetically prone to it. This disease causes the same pain in dogs as in humans, so you can only imagine what canines go through.
If you notice changes in the behavior of your canine companion, do not mistake them as a part of the aging process. That’s because not all changes are due to the aging process. Some can be a result of underlying medical conditions.
That said, here are a few signs that will help you understand if your fur baby has osteoarthritis:
1. Reluctance to Move
Is your once-an-active canine baby no longer interested in leaving home for walks? It could be an indication that your dog is experiencing inflammation in joints due to osteoarthritis.
Some dogs with osteoarthritis set out for walks but turn back early or slow down. Osteoarthritis may also make your fur baby uninterested in darting to your car upon opening the door like it used to do previously.
If your fur baby exhibits such a behavior, it might have developed arthritis, and simplest tasks may have become difficult due to swollen joints.
2. Yelping When Touched
Unless you own a dog of an aggressive breed, canines are affectionate. It isn’t normal for them to bite, snap or growl.
Dogs with arthritis usually get aggressive when someone pets them because of the inflammation they experience in their joints. While arthritis can occur in any joint, knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders are commonly affected.
If your fur baby is crying out, rejecting your affection, or showing any signs of aggression while you’re petting, there’s a high possibility that it is in incredible pain.
3. Difficulty Climbing Stairs
Unlike healthy dogs, arthritic dogs struggle to climb stairs. Climbing the stairs exerts a lot of strain on the front legs joints, which can be problematic for those with arthritis on the carpi (wrists), shoulders, or elbows.
Some canines stop using stairs completely if they experience severe inflammation, while others continue to use them, albeit slowly. In case you’ve noticed that your fur baby has been hesitant in using stairs, get them checked with a vet.
4. Licking the Joints
Humans soothe painful areas through massage, whereas animals relieve pain by licking at sore joints. Anytime you notice your fur baby licking a specific joint or area of its body, you must understand that it’s an aching joint.
Excessive grooming or licking may also lead to discoloration or hair loss over the joint, so watch out for it, as dogs lick inflamed joints to provide some relief.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Dogs
Just like humans, arthritis is common among dogs, especially older ones. If you suspect your dog has developed osteoarthritis, visiting a veterinarian will be the best bet.
While no “magic bullet” exists to treat osteoarthritis in dogs, over-the-counter medications and supplements are available to relieve aching joints. Let’s take a look at the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs:
1. NSAIDs to Decrease Pain and Inflammation
Meloxicam, grapiprant, firocoxib, deracoxib, and carprovet for dogs, to name a few, are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. However, note that these drugs have side effects that aren’t well-tolerated by all dogs.
PetRx says gastrointestinal issues are the most reported side effects of carprovet in dogs. Events involving hepatic, dermatologic, neurologic, hematologic, and renal effects have also been reported. Therefore, it’s best to consult your veterinarian about dosage and whether it’s safe for your fur baby.
Supplements such as glucosamine or chondroitin, omega-3 fatty acids, and other natural anti-inflammatory products can relieve pain from aching joints.
An injectable prescription product that may reduce pain caused by arthritis is adequan, thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects. Many dogs that use this product as a part of the pain management plan may experience minimal side effects besides significant comfort.
Prognosis for Dogs With Osteoarthritis
Seeing your once-an-active pup turn into an old, grumpy dog because of osteoarthritis is disheartening. Besides NSAIDs, supplements, and injectable products, therapies can help relieve pain and inflammation of joints.
Among them are laser therapy, acupuncture, and physical rehabilitation, including therapeutic exercise and hands-on techniques. Stem cell therapy and chiropractic manipulation have been helpful in soothing inflammation in dogs.
When it comes to the treatment of osteoarthritis in your beloved canine companion, do not rely on Google or any other dog owner’s knowledge. Remember, only the veterinarian can help your fur baby recover quickly by prescribing the right medications and treatments, so rely only on them.