Arthritis in Dogs
Arthritis is a common degenerative disorder that occurs when an area in, or around, a joint becomes inflamed - causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. In dogs, it is most likely to develop in the knees, shoulders, ankles, elbows, and hips. It can also develop in the joints between the vertebrae of the backbone. Large breed dogs and those who are overweight are affected more often than small dogs. Hip dysplasia is a common condition characterized by the abnormal development of the hip joint, primarily in large dogs. Excessive growth, exercise, nutrition, and hereditary factors all affect its occurrence. Hip dysplasia is a major contributing factor to the development of arthritis in dogs.
Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs
- walking with a bunny hop gait
- joint pain (especially after get up from a nap)
- poor appetite
- joint swelling
Although arthritis generally develops over time it can also be caused by bacteria that spreads through the blood as a result of trauma. Signs of this type of arthritis, called septic arthritis, include swelling, pain, lameness, fever, listlessness, loss of appetite, and stiffness. In some dogs, losing weight, restricting exercise, and ongoing physical therapy can help reduce symptoms and pain.
Arthritis is a progressive disease that can make your dog’s life miserable. To make your dog comfortable, reduce their exposure to places that are damp and cold and moderate exercise accordingly. Never self diagnose your dog and remember to consult your doctor for advice on ways to reduce pain and inflammation in your pet.