Arthritis is similar in humans and dogs. The signs start to appear in old age, usually as a result of long-term wear and tear on joints. Arthritis in dogs can also be a sign of injury, infection, immune disease, genetics, or in some cases cancer.
When arthritis starts to take hold, it can slow your best friend down. At best the affected joints become uncomfortable; in severe cases arthritis can limit mobility and affect your dog’s quality of life.
The good news is the symptoms can be managed. Dog arthritis treatments include injections, controlled exercise, physical therapy, and changes to your furry friend’s home environment.
If you are concerned your dog may be afflicted by arthritis, call us on (08) 9277 2231 to book an appointment. We can make an initial assessment and recommend next steps, including radiography by our experienced team.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the degeneration of cartilage around joints. When it comes to dogs the most commonly affected joints are hips, knees, shoulders and elbows. However almost any joint can be affected, especially if arthritis is the result of cancer or infection.
Like in humans, dog arthritis causes pain, loss of mobility, and a reduced quality of life. Now that our canine companions are living longer than ever, we are seeing more dogs (normally aged 7 and older) affected by the disease.
Signs of arthritis in dogs
Dogs are good at hiding their pain from humans. They may not understand what is happening, only that their joints are slowly becoming sore and less mobile.
That means as your dog ages, you need to keep an eye out for the common signs and symptoms of dog arthritis:
- Limping or not using one leg
- Slow on walks
- Reluctant to climb stairs or play
- Visible signs of pain when touched (yelping, aggression or flinching)
- Licking affected joints
As arthritis gets worse the severity of these symptoms increases. Although there is no cure for arthritis in dogs, there are ways to manage the symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Dog arthritis treatment
The first step in managing the symptoms of arthritis is to get a proper diagnosis from an experienced veterinarian. This requires radiography in Epsom Avenue’s clinic to understand exactly where, and how severe, the arthritis so we can properly treat it.
Our veterinary surgeons and vet nurses will advise on the best course of treatment depending on the radiograph results.
Overweight dogs put proportionately more strain on affected joints, so weight management is a step towards reducing the severity of symptoms.
Long intense walks and games of fetch can cause painful flare-ups. Try more frequent shorter walks on the leash, or swimming, to promote joint strength.
Arthritis injections for dogs, usually administered weekly for 4 weeks every 6-12 months, target arthritis at its source and promote cartilage repair.
We carry a range of prescription nutrition for dogs with arthritis and can advise on other dietary changes or supplements for joint protection and reduced inflammation.
Supplements such as 4Cyte and Epiitalis liquid are available at the clinic. Please discuss with one of our vets or vet nurses.
Specialised exercises targeting range of motion, joint strength, balance and joint reparation can be an effective complement to other dog arthritis treatments.
Hopefully surgery is not relevant however if it is, your dog is in the best hands with our experienced, compassionate vet surgeons in our fully equipped clinic.
See you and your furry friend soon!