Have you noticed that your older dog has started to slow down on their walks, has difficulty rising or laying down, or is starting to walk stiffly? These are just a couple of the signs of osteoarthritis and although we most commonly see arthritis in our older dogs it is not uncommon to see the early signs of this condition in some of our younger canine companions as well.
Osteoarthritis is a complex condition that involves inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints. There are multiply symptoms that your dog may present with and they do not neccessarily all present with all of the same signs all of the time. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty getting up and down
- Painful, swollen joints
- Reluctance to jump up or down or walk up or down steps
- Walking stiffly
- Slowing down on walks or lack of stamina
- Dislike of being touched in certain areas
- Aggression towards other dogs or humans especially if touching in or near the painful areas
The causes of Osteoarthritis (OA) are many and varied. The body conformation of the dog, size, weight and joint development can play a role, as can previous orthopaedic surgery or injury. Often it is a combination of factors that lead to the degeneration of the joints.
OA is diagnosed through a discussion with your vet about the symptoms your canine is showing at home, a thorough physical exam and most often, xrays or another form of imaging.
The good news is that we have a number of tools we can use to help your pooch lead a happy healthy life, every dog is different and each will require a tailored approach to manage their activity and pain levels.
OA is not a disease that can be cured but by using multiple modalities we can successfully manage it.
It is important to see your vet to get on top of this condition as soon as possible and help your canine friend get back to enjoying life.
Some of the treatments that can be used to help mange this condition are
- Pain medications
- Supportive therapy
If you think your dog is displaying any of the signs of arthritis, regardless of age or stage, then get in touch with your vet for a chat and a check up