Is your dog moving around more slowly? Is he having difficulty lying down and getting up? Is she reluctant to climb stairs or hop into cars? Your dog may be suffering from osteoarthritis – a painful degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis is more common in older, larger and working dogs due to wear and tear. It can also arise from obesity, trauma or birth defects such as abnormally formed hips.
SIGNS OF PAIN can be SUBTLE AND DIFFICULT TO DIAGNOSE
Chronic pain due to age-related disorders like osteoarthritis usually develops slowly. It can be hard to detect because some animals learn to tolerate and live with the pain.
OUR PETS CANNOT TELL US IN WORDS WHEN THEY ARE IN PAIN
Watch our pets closely to detect signs of arthritic pain:
- reluctance to walk or play
- stiffness and lameness
- difficulty lying down or getting up
- difficulty climbing stairs
- unusually quiet or withdrawn
- biting or snapping when touched
- appetite loss
SPEAK WITH YOUR VET ABOUT MANAGING ARTHRITIS WITH:
- Medications (anti-inflammatories and pain relief)
- Cartrophen injections (a disease modifying drug to reduce adverse effects of osteoarthritis)
- Supplements (e.g. glucosamine, chondroitin, omega oils)
- Physical therapy (e.g. hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, massage)
“Acupuncture has been used in animals for at least 3000 years. It is commonly used to manage conditions such as degenerative joint disease (arthritis) and intervertebral disc disease. A typical session, including a physical checkup, lasts up to 30 minutes.”
IF YOUR dog SUFFERS FROM CHRONIC arthritic PAIN, BASIC LIFESTYLE CHANGES CAN OFFER RELIEF.
- Extra weight increases stress on the joints. Keep your dogs trim with a healthy diet and low impact exercises.
- Provide gently-sloped ramps to access gardens or get in and out of cars.
- Raise food and water bowls to a comfortable level to reduce neck or back strain.
- Lay non-slip mats around the house to help your dog get up and walk more easily .
- Provide comfortable and supportive beds.
A note on EXERCISe – too little or too much
- Regardless of age or extent of arthritis, it is important to keep our dogs fit and mobile. Engage your dogs in regular low impact exercises to reduce stiffness and improve flexibility. Massage their muscles daily to relieve any tightness.
- Follow your dog’s pace.. Take it slow and easy. It is better to do a few short sessions of exercise (e.g. three 10-minute sessions a day) rather than one long session.
Some puppies, unfortunately, are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia. Capers’ hind legs were stiff and he was bunny hopping more frequently. X-rays confirmed he had mild hip dysplasia which can lead to painful arthritic hip degeneration in later years. Treated early, dogs like Capers can lead a full life. Get behind the scenes here.