Dog Arthritis Symptoms

Does your dog have arthritis? Find out what are the signs and symptoms of canine arthritis and what are the available remedies to treat it.

Dog arthritis is more common than thought – at last count, one in five adult dogs have been diagnosed with this painful degenerative joint disease. Although arthritis is more prevalent in dogs seven years or older or medium to large breeds, pets of any age and size can suffer from this disease that causes painful inflammation of the joints. Inactive and overweight dogs are also more prone to developing dog arthritis.

Like arthritis in humans, canine arthritis causes stiffness and swelling in the joints and muscles. And the pain that result can be very intense and unbearable for some dogs. Therefore, once you notice that your dog is not behaving or walking normally, you should start to look out for symptoms of canine arthritis and seek treatment.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs - Signs To Look Out For

It is not difficult to spot signs of arthritis and that your dog is in pain. Dogs with arthritis usually show the following symptoms:

Mild

  • Slight stiffness and lameness when walking and will gradually become worse over time
  • May yelp or whimper in pain when the affected joint is touched
  • Continuously or frequent licking of affected joint occur
  • Slow to rise up from a resting position
  • Loss of appetite or unusual weight gain

Severe

  • Reluctance or increased difficulty in rising from a resting position
  • Sleeping more than usual or a sudden decrease in dog’s level of activity
  • Unwilling to walk more than a few steps, jump or climb stairs
  • Unusual bladder and bowel elimination in the house
  • Frequent panting, whining and/or whimpering occur
  • Affected joint may become swollen and dog does not allow it to be touched
  • Noticeable personality and behavioral changes becoming more withdrawn or aggressive
  • In severe arthritis, fever, diarrhea and vomiting may occur

Diagnosis of Arthritis in Dogs

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms for one weeks or more, you should immediately take him to a veterinarian for an arthritis evaluation. In a typical examination, the veterinarian will examine the eyes, ears, skin and gums of the dog, followed by seeking other signs of pain or inflammation of the joints. The dog will then undergo several simple motion tests and observation of its posture. After the physical examination, X-rays, blood tests and a synovial (joint) fluid analysis might be involved.

Once your dog is properly diagnosed that he or she is suffering from arthritis, your vet may suggest a few remedies to minimizes your dog's joint pain and inflammation, and if possible to control or slow the progression of arthritis so that the condition can actually heal.

Some possible treatment options for canine arthritis include:

  • The use of analgesics such as corticosteroids or non-steroidal medications (NSAIDs) to stop the pain and decrease inflammation.

  • For overweight canines, a dietary management and exercise program to help the dog lose weight and at the same time, strengthen the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

  • Supplementing your dog’s meals with nutritional joint supplements containing glucosamine which is great for building cartilage and connective tissue back on the joints.

Remember, arthritis is a painful condition for dogs, and for this reason it should always be taken seriously. Therefore, the sooner you know what are the signs and symptoms of dog arthritis to look out for, the sooner you will be able to adopt measures to slow down its progression and help minimize your pet's arthritic discomfort.

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