Pet parents adore their furry companions and it is difficult for them to see their lovable pooches in pain due to disease, injury or any other discomfort. To save your pets from disability in their old age, it is important to watch out for early signs of arthritis, the degenerative joint disease that could affect your dog’s mobility and quality of life. Particularly common in senior dogs or large breeds, osteoarthritis could occur due to age, injury, repetitive stress or disease as per Americal Kennel Club. If you think your dog is at risk due to any of these factors, you must consult a veterinarian to start the treatment and care early on. (Also read: Pet health: Warning signs of cancer in dogs you shouldn’t ignore)
“Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and is a common problem for many dogs, causing pain, discomfort and stiffness. In healthy joints, the slippery tissue called cartilage cushions the ends of the bones in the joints. Unhealthy joints show something different. It is osteoarthritis (OA) or arthritis in dogs, no matter the term, the results are the same: cartilage that breaks down, causes pain and swelling. As it gets worse, bone spurs can form, causing more pain and joint damage,” says Dr Vinod Sharma, Head of Veterinary Services at DCC Animal Hospital. Dr Sharma also talks about the causes and symptoms of the disease.
Here are the causes of arthritis in dogs
-An injury such as ligament damage or broken bones could cause arthritis in dogs.
-Hip dysplasia, which is a deformity of the joints, often caused by bad breeding.
-Under-development of joints, caused by too little or too much exercise during puppyhood.
Symptoms of arthritis in dogs
Reluctance to move: You may notice that your dog is reluctant to do things that previously were not a problem for them. If they are not able to easily move, it is an early sign of arthritis.
Limping/lameness, yelping when touched, irritability or change in behaviour could be other signs of arthritis in dogs.
Licking, chewing, and biting, tiredness, muscle atrophy are some other symptoms.
How to take care of your dogs with arthritis
Once you know that your dog is suffering from arthritis, you must take steps to ensure your furry friend’s comfort as they battle with the disease. Dr Sharma suggests some tips.
– Consult your vet for effective treatments
– Control weight and diet: Excess weight can further affect joints of your dogs and hence it is important to shed weight. A proper diet will not only help manage weighty issues but also keep inflammation in check.
– Offer a soft bed to your pet child
– Install ramps, cubes and slip-free flooring for your dog
– Massage and exercise your dog after consulting the vet.
Apart from these, pet owners must include physical activities like swimming and physiotherapy to relieve pain naturally as giving them too many pain killers can damage their organs.