Canine Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

Canine osteoarthritis is a joint disease that might disable your dog and cause a lot of pain. Mostly older dogs are affected by osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but you may ease your dog's pain and help him feel more comfortable.

Canine Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Canine osteoarthritis has clear symptoms from its early stages. Your dog will start limping and will have a hard time standing up, climbing stairs, jumping up the couch and other routine activities that used to be no problem to do. Your dog will not be as active anymore and will not show as much interest in playing.

You will notice his swollen joints and your dog will often chew or bite his joints because of the pain.

A dog with osteoarthritis will sleep more and when not sleeping, he will rest.

He will also avoid being touched-because he is sore.

The dog will lose weight, which is a result of a lack of appetite.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

The main cause of osteoarthritis is increased amount of stress on joints. If your dog has suffered from a joint injury this may also lead to osteoarthritis. An obese dog will also add more weight and stress on the joints. In some cases, the causes of osteoarthritis are congenital: abnormal joints and limb conformation.

Dog Arthritis Medication

The medication for dog osteoarthritis will include anti-inflammatory drugs. These will relieve the pressure that is put on the joints, stimulate mobility and will help ease the pain. The anti-inflammatory drugs will also prevent further joint injuries.

You have the option of choosing an anti-inflammatory drug that contains no steroids. Ask your vet for the best treatment option for your dog.

In severe cases, an additional pain medication will be prescribed.

Arthritis pain may vary from season to season, so the dosage and type of medication can change throughout the year. If your dog feels better, he might not need medication for a while. Make sure to go for regular check-ups, so as to be able to control your dog's condition and help him feel less pain and discomfort.

Weight Control

Dogs with arthritis will become less active and are in danger of gaining weight in time. Weight gain is not recommended, as it results in additional pressure to the joints. Your dog should follow a well-balanced diet, but make sure to reduce the calorie intake of your pet to compensate for his reduced activity.

Canine Osteoarthritis Exercise

Exercise is important for your pet. By strengthening the muscles that support the joints, this will relieve some of the pain. Involve your dog in low-impact types of exercises that don't include running or jumping. Exercise helps also to maintain a healthy weight for your dog. However, if your pet's pain is severe for a few days, allow your dog to rest and resume the exercise sessions after he feels better. Physical therapy is an option for dogs that are in a lot of pain and the osteoarthritis is in an advanced stage.

Combining medication, weight control and exercise should help your dog feel better. Hot baths are recommended. Alternative treatment such as acupuncture is also available.