Arthritis in Dogs: - the scourge of the 21st Century
Dogs are considered a symbol of joy and unbridled energy. These active buddies give us a true joy and charge with their cheerfulness. Unfortunately, our pets (like humans) are prone to all sorts of diseases. One of the most common and serious pathologies is dog’s arthritis.
This disease not only causes discomfort and limits the mobility of your fur friend, but also has a rather upsetting prognosis. Statistics is in: most cases of arthritis are incurable and chronic. In veterinary practice, arthritis is the most common source of chronic pain in dogs. They affect every fourth dog under the age of 5 and every third pet after 7 years.
Arthritis is a major disease of the musculoskeletal system due to pathological changes in the joints. The provoking factors of pathology include:
Aging: In the vast majority of cases, signs of arthritis in dogs appear at 5-7 years of age or later. With age, the joints become less mobile and lose their original elasticity.
An unbalanced nutrition: It often leads to obesity and weight gain. That affects the load on the joints increases, which is the cause of their premature wear.
Crippling diseases: Joint injuries, infectious and viral diseases of the musculoskeletal system often precede the appearance of arthritis in dogs.
Hypothermia: Absence of clothes in the cold season, the location of the sleeping bed in the place of drafts, summer swimming in cold water can provoke the development of this pathology.
By knowing the most common causes of arthritis, dog parents can protect their beloved pet from danger.
Don't miss the signs of arthritis in dogs!
One of the first common symptoms of the disease is a decrease in the activity of the dog.
Pet becomes reluctant to go for long walks, lies down a lot, becomes lethargic. A characteristic feature of arthritis in dogs is joint swelling and pain when pressed on it. The animal tries not to use an injured paw when walking - it carefully steps on it or bends it completely (hanging limb syndrome). If before your dog jumped at the appearance of the owner, and now carefully gets up ... There is a high probability that the cause lies in an inflamed joint.
The affected paw is difficult to bend. Arthritis in dogs (photos and videos of sick pets can be found all over the Internet) is manifested in the characteristic "intense gait" and lameness. If the joints of the forelimbs are affected, your dog may refuse to go down the stairs or down a steep mountain. With pain in the hind legs, it is difficult for the pet to climb up, climb on a high sofa, chair. With the progression of arthritis, the symptoms worsen or new ailments join them.
In the acute form of the disease, the pathology develops rapidly (within a few hours or days). The symptoms are visible, the contrast with the condition of the animal "yesterday" and "today" is very noticeable. Chronic arthritis is characterized by a gradual increase in symptoms, the overall picture of the disease remains hidden for a long time. This is often misleading to owners who attribute this condition to the age of the pet or a change in his habits.
Not all breeds are equally prone to arthritis. At risk are animals of large breeds: retrievers, alabays, mastiffs, bulldogs, setters, retrievers, shar-peis, St. Bernards, etc.
Owners of large breed dogs are advised to be especially vigilant and treat the health of their pet with special attention. At the first suspicious signs you should visit a vet ASAP. Timely prescribed therapy will protect against the progression of the pathology and significantly improve the prognosis.
Forms of the disease: 6 main dangers
Depending on the cause of the pathology, there are several forms of arthritis, the treatment of which differs in many ways. Some of these forms can be safely classified as uncommon, others account for up to 50% of the total number of cases of this disease.
- Traumatic. Occurs due to fractures of limbs, sprains, dislocations, blows and other types of mechanical damage. The provoking factor is an increase in the load on a healthy joint, which threatens to disrupt metabolic processes in cartilage. Degenerative changes lead to reduced joint functionality and provoke arthritis.
- Purulent. Infectious complication of traumatic arthritis in dogs, the symptoms of which are largely non-specific. The disease can also develop with inflammation of the periarticular tissues. Possible complications include fistula formation, risk of general blood infection, or risk of limb amputation.
- Functional. Occurs due to increased physical activity on a healthy joint. Irrational, excessive training of a pet leads to pathological changes in the articular cartilage and subsequent tissue degeneration.
- Metabolic. The cause of the disease is improper metabolism in the body. In the metabolic (dystrophic) form of arthritis in dogs, there are several subtypes, depending on which synthesis of the substance is impaired. The consequence of the disease is the deposition of salt crystals or softening of bones and their deformation.
- Genetic. Quite a rare type of disease, which is based on genetic disorders. Among the most common pathologies - low cartilage resistance, joint dysplasia, etc. The prognosis for this type of disease is quite disappointing.
- Rheumatoid. Refers to a rare group of autoimmune diseases. The cause of the disease is the entry of pathogenic bacteria into the dog's body. A feature of this type of bacteria is their resemblance to bone and cartilage cells. As a result of the immune attack, not only are the bacteria themselves destroyed, but also the cartilage tissue suffers.
How to treat arthritis in dogs?
The diagnosis is made on the basis of a comprehensive study of the dog's condition. After a thorough visual inspection and inspection of the joints (their size, mobility, no swelling of the tissues), the vet will write a referral for an X-ray. Experts strongly advise against trying to treat your pet on your own. First, there are several forms of arthritis in dogs, the treatment of which can vary greatly. Second, a self-taught amateur can take other diseases for arthritis and try to fight a non- existent disease.
Treatment of arthritis should be comprehensive and take into account a number of important factors. This is the age of the animal, and the form of the disease, and the severity of its course, and the presence of complications, and the presence of other pathologies in the body and ... even the nature of your favorite pet!
One of the first steps should be the elimination of the provoking factor ( supplements, correction of nutrition, getting rid of excessive physical activity, treatment of infectious diseases, etc.). Before treating arthritis in dogs, vet conducts a detailed conversation with the owner. The specialist tries to find out the peculiarities to learn about his diet and habits. Often in a conversation with the owner that the cause of his pet's illness becomes clear.
With purulent arthritis strong antibiotics needed. In some cases, surgical treatment of arthritis in dogs is required to remove pus and ensure the outflow of exudate. Surgery is also indicated for bone curvature, dysplasia and fracture, rupture of ligaments.
Arthritis makes some adjustments to the daily routine of your dog. A mandatory requirement is to protect the dog from drafts and hypothermia. The ideal option for a bed - a warm thick mattress or a special orthopedic bedding for animals (on sale you can find even models with heating).
In winter and in the off-season you should take care of warm overalls for your beloved pet. It is better to switch to slow and short walks.
Get supplement support that will provide daily dose of Glucosamine, MSM, and Chondroitin sulfate.
Glucosamine - is used to help form and repair body tissues such as cartilage. As all dogs ages, the natural production of glucosamine in the body slows. As a result, the natural repair process in the body slows, eventually leading to joint pain and stiffness.
MSM – is a naturally occurring sulfur compound with health and pain-relieving benefits for dogs.
Chondroitin sulfate - promotes water retention and elasticity in the cartilage, helping to ensure adequate shock absorption and adequate nourishment of the tissues that line the joints.
Swimming is considered to be an excellent preventive and curative remedy for arthritis in dogs. For this purpose any reservoir with warm water and absence of strong gusts of wind will be a great therapy.