Joint Infection in Dogs

Joint infection in dogs is one of the less common causes of joint pain and other related problems. Nonetheless, it can severely impact your pet's life and may spread to other parts of his body as well, causing a host of problems. One of the major problems with infections of the joint is that these infections, often cause by bacteria, can subsequently lead to infections of other parts of the body. Without treatment, if the infection should spread to one of your pet's major organs, it could mean very serious consequences and even potentially be fatal.

Causes of Joint Infection

There are a number of different conditions that can result in joint pain and swelling in dogs. While these conditions most typically affect older dogs, they may strike dogs of any age, breed, gender or other health profile. The more common conditions affecting the joints, like osteoarthritis and related problems, are chronic conditions that develop for different reasons. Joint infections, however, tend to be caused by bacteria and other issues, such as overuse of a joint or overextension.

Symptoms of Joint Infection

There are many different potential symptoms of joint infection. They tend to vary somewhat on a case by case basis and according to the severity and the location of the infection. Keep in mind that one of the main indicators that your dog is experiencing joint problems due to an infection as opposed to a general joint condition like arthritis is that infections will typically only affect one joint or a localized section of your dog's body, while arthritis and other chronic conditions tend to affect multiple joints at once. The various symptoms of joint infection include:

  • Tenderness at palpation
  • Swelling around the affected joint
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty lying or sitting down
  • Problems while attempting to climb or descend stairs
  • Cries of pain or howls
  • Rubbing or pawing at the affected joint

Because of the nature of joint infections, the symptoms may progressively become worse over time as the infection develops. The earlier that you can detect that your pet has a joint infection, the earlier that you can help to treat it.

Diagnosing and Treating Joint Infections

There are a number of different ways that you can help the vet to diagnose your pet's infection. Keep careful track of all of the symptoms that you see, and schedule an appointment as soon as you notice any of them developing. Your vet will likely run a sample of joint fluid for signs of bacterial growth to confirm whether the problem is due to an infection or something else.

Treating the infection is often as simple as a dosage of antibiotics. If the infection has progressed, however, other means of treatment may be necessary. Therefore, it's in your dog's best interest for you to identify and treat the condition as early on as possible so that you avoid more costly and invasive types of treatment.