Arthritis in dogs – What can be done?

You need to learn a lot about arthritis in dogs because it is a health problem that can occur to any dog and there is almost anything that you cannot do to prevent it. So what you have to know is that it affects the joints of your dog, it can be one or more of them affected. You will notice that it appears to dogs that have inherited orthopedic disease and to those with a joint injury.

Arthritis in dogs
Photo by Amila Pradeep

Osteoarthritis can appear to old dogs and young dogs as well. A very important fact that has to be known is that big dog breeds are often disposed to contact the disease and the fact is valuable for dogs with a high weight and this problem can occur few times in the life of your dog. You can see that your dog is suffering from it by the fact that your dog will feel joint pain, stiffness and lameness especially after getting up from a nap or in the morning. This form of arthritis in dogs is progressive and in time, the life of your dog can become miserable. There is no cure for it but there is a treatment that can improve a little the life of your dog. It includes analgesics that release the pain, chondoprotective agents that should repair the cartilage to prevent further damage, acupuncture also helps but physical therapy and weight control is also extremely important.

When I refer to physical therapy I talk about some exercises that your dog should do in order to preserve joint flexibility and to maintain the muscle mass. The exercises should not be very difficult and should not force your dog too much. For example a dog suffering for arthritis should not be encouraged to stay on the back legs or to jump because these two actions can be very dangerous. If you have an overweight dog you must encourage him to lose weight because otherwise it will be very hard to treat him. The best exercise that your dog can do in the case of osteoarthritis is swimming.

You must know that there can appear immune- mediated arthritis that can be erosive or nonerosive arthritis. This is not a common disease but it can appear to toy breeds and other small dog breeds. The diagnosis is made by joint x-ray and some other specific tests that your dog has to follow. In this case exercises are also very important but remember: it has to be low or moderate because with a lot of exercise you can do a lot worse than good. There is a treatment that your dog can be administrated in this case too and it refers to anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes chemotherapy is also necessary. 

There also is infectious arthritis that your dog may have. The treatment that you might be recommended to administrate is tetracycline and doxycycline. No matter how hard it seems to be having a dog suffering from arthritis in dogs, you must remember that you must do whatever it takes to be sure that your dog feels comfortable as long as he lives, even if he suffers from this painful disease.