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Everything you need to know about OSTEOARTHRITIS in DOGs

Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is a slow, ongoing condition which affects around 50% of animals during their life. It is when your pet experiences pain and stiffness in the joints; it can be due to normal old age processes – the same as in humans – or due to some underlying problem. Any joint can be affected but it is mainly seen in the legs or spine.

It can be difficult to recognize when our pets are in pain as they cannot speak to us, and sometimes the signs are very small.

Signs of pain in your pet:

  • Stiffness, lameness (limping), or difficulty getting up
  • Lethargy
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or play
  • Weight gain
  • Irritability or changes in behavior
  • Pain when petted or touched
  • Difficulty posturing to urinate or defecate, or having accidents in the house
  • Loss of muscle mass over the limbs and spine

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis:

  • Large or giant breeds, such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers
  • Obesity
  • Age, particularly middle-age to senior dogs
  • Repetitive stress from athletic activities such as agility or excessive exercise
  • Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears
  • Infections that affect the joints, such as Tick Fever
  • Improper nutrition
  • Poor conformation
  • Genetics

If your pet is showing any signs of pain it is important to have a consultation with your veterinarian so they can perform a full exam of the joints. We may recommend x-rays to check for any underlying problems and to make an appropriate diagnosis of your pet’s condition.

TIPS FOR PREVENTION:

  • Weight management
  • Regular controlled exercise
  • Proper nutrition

Unfortunately osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but we can relieve your pets discomfort by using pain relief medications, joint supplements, and may advise weight loss or physiotherapy to make your pet feel more comfortable. Usually we will use several different treatments alongside each other to achieve the best outcome.

Contact Animal Doctors International to speak to your vet if you are concerned about your pets’ symptoms.