Arthritis

Is Your Best Friend in Pain?

An estimated 1 in 5 adult dogs suffers from osteoarthritis—a painful, degenerative joint disease—which can seriously reduce your dog’s mobility and quality of life. Although the incidence of arthritis tends to increase with age (like in people), it can affect dogs of any age, breed or size.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint disease that inflames and erodes joint cartilage. Without the cushioning and lubricating effect of healthy cartilage, the joint becomes painful and disabled. Arthritis may develop because of an inherited malformation, an old injury, infection, or from normal wear and tear.

Diagnosing Arthritis in Animals

A diagnosis of arthritis requires a thorough physical examination combined with a detailed history of clinical signs. X-rays are necessary in the majority of cases to confirm the diagnosis. Many dogs need to be sedated for proper positioning to ensure accurate radiographs. Radiographs at CPAH are reviewed by a board-certified radiologist, with results available the same day.

Common Signs of Arthritis in Pets

While people can easily explain their symptoms to a doctor, dogs have no way of telling you when they hurt. That’s why it’s up to you to recognize the signs of arthritis pain. Common clinical signs include:

  • Limping
  • Reluctance to climb stairs
  • Falling behind on walks
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning or after a nap
  • Stiffness hours after exercise
  • Repeated licking of a joint
  • Personality change

The pain associated with arthritis, as well as the stiffness and lameness it can cause, can be overcome. If you have any questions about your pet’s discomfort, please ask one of our doctors. Help your best friend put quality of life ahead of his pain.

Pain Management

Symptoms can be managed with medications for degenerative joint disease and many arthritic pets benefit greatly from pain-relieving medications. However, it's very important to be aware of side effects with their long-term use.

Learn more about arthritis medicine.

Dietary management

Hill’s Prescription Diet® J/D is a promising new diet for our arthritic pets. It has been clinically proven to reduce pain in over 80% of dogs with arthritis. The diet contains:

  • High levels of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation.
  • EPA, an omega-3 fatty acid that blocks the enzyme that breaks down cartilage.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate provide building blocks for cartilage repair.
  • L-carnitine helps maintain optimum body weight.
  • Antioxidants protects joint tissues against cell damage.
  • Allows for lower NSAID dosage.

Case Study

Baggs is a 7-year-old yellow Labrador who was very overweight for many years. Baggs's obesity contributed to the development of osteoarthritis in many of his joints. Learn more about Baggs...

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