Canine Joint Disease Explained

Canine joint disease is a problem that is faced by many dogs. There are as many as 10 million dogs that presently suffer from the continual pain of osteoarthritis, and it is being assumed that there are more that may be at a risk of developing this disease.

The degenerative joint disease is illustrated as the loss of cartilage that protects and covers the bone ends in the joints that are movable. Since the cartilage is not supplied by nerves, there is no pain felt on the movement of the joints. However, with gradual wear and tear, there is a loss of cartilage, and this leaves the bones exposed. When the joint moves and the bone ends rub with each other, it results in pain and inflammation.

Cause of Arthritis

The condition is seen to occur as a result of wear and tear, and incidences are seen more in aged dogs. Osteoarthritis can also result from other conditions such as elbow dysplasia or hip dysplasia.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Canine Joint Disease

The symptoms of this condition vary according to the joints that are affected, the severity of the disease and also the age of the dog. In general, the following symptoms can be observed:

  • Altered gait as the pet tries to put more weight on the limbs that are not affected.
  • Atrophy in the muscles: The size of the muscle in the affected limb reduces because of less usage.
  • The pet appears stiff and finds difficulty in getting up; it may also find difficulty in jumping to heights, such as into the car and also moving on the stairs.
  • According to the severity of the pain, the pet experiences loss of appetite and changes in behavior.
  • Many dogs lick or bite the area of pain, and some look for warm places to rest.

Osteoarthritis in pets can be diagnosed only after analyzing the medical history and by a thorough physical examination. Detailed examination follows, which includes laboratory tests and x-rays of the affected joint.

Treatment of Degenerative Joint Disease

The disease can be treated either medically or surgically. There are some forms of the ailment that can be treated only by surgery; for example, a hip replacement for a dog that has suffered from hip dysplasia. There are other processes also that can be followed, but the success depends on the improvement seen in the animal after the treatment.

Canine joint disease is a condition that continues to worsen with time. However, with proper medication, the progress of the disease can be slowed, and if the dog responds well then he can continue to lead a comfortable life. In severe cases, there is no alternative other than a surgery, which will results in recovery.