As time passes, the dogs get older and begin to suffer ailments and conditions of their own age. One of these ailments is arthritis, a degenerative disease that is diagnosed in at least 20 percent of the canine population in our country and that causes them, in addition to intense pain, significant walking problems.
Arthritis, as in the case of humans, affects the animal’s joints, making it difficult to walk. Although it is a disease that has no cure, it is possible to treat it if it is detected in time to control its progress and decrease its effects, improving the quality of life of the dog. Therefore, it is essential to know their symptoms and know how to act in case our pet suffers.
¿What is canine arthritis?
This pathology is the inflammation of the joints that generates pain and reduces the mobility of the dog. It usually occurs in older dogs and is usually caused by infection, trauma, developmental problems, genetic predisposition or as a response to the immune system of the animal’s own body.
The most frequent condition is called osteoarthritis and occurs in older dogs with thinning of the articular cartilage that protects the bones, the accumulation of fluid inside the joint and the formation of bone growths in the joint. In some cases, this disease can occur in younger dogs.
In simple words, arthritis causes wear of the cartilage that joins the joints, generating intense pain by rubbing the bones between them and hindering normal movement. Also, spurs can grow on the joints, which are bumps that cause pain when pressing on the nerves.
¿What are the symptoms of arthritis in dogs?
There are some specific signs that can give us lights of joint problems in our dog. Although it can be difficult to detect the symptoms of arthritis in dogs because the slow progression of the disease causes the animals not to complain of discomfort, in some cases it is enough to observe their walk to identify the disease, since the animal can present:
- Trouble getting around
- Joint stiffness.
- Limitation of your movements when walking.
- Atrophy of your muscles.
- Complications at bedtime and getting up.
- Joint swelling
- Crunches when moving any joint.
In the case where the disease is advanced, the animal may have severe pain and deformation in the joints.
Timely diagnosis is essential to slow the progression of arthritis and improve the situation of the animal, so it should be taken as soon as possible to the veterinary clinic to perform the corresponding analyzes and start the most convenient treatment.
¿What is the treatment of canine arthritis?
As we have already indicated, this degenerative disease has no cure, but with the right treatment we can significantly relieve the dog’s symptoms, getting him to lead a normal and pain-free life.
The level of disease progression, the symptoms presented and the specific characteristics in each case, are some of the determining factors to establish the most appropriate treatment for the animal. In general, the therapy is composed of a combination of pharmacological medications and a special diet.
Among the medications, analgesics, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are usually included, as well as some vitamin supplements which, as a whole, are aimed at curbing cartilage wear as soon as possible. In more advanced cases, the veterinarian may consider it necessary to perform a surgical intervention to relieve pain and inflammation.
¿What care should be given to the pet suffering from arthritis?
After having made the diagnosis by the veterinarian, the specialist will determine the special treatment for the dog. In parallel, it is necessary to carry out certain actions at home to improve the quality of life of the animal.
It is usually common for the animal to begin a sedentary life as a result of suffering from arthritis, something very counterproductive since it can worsen its situation or complicate with other conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to establish a moderate routine of physical exercises, according to the age of the dog and his physical condition.
However, due to the condition of their joints, it is advisable that the physical effort be less, avoiding sudden jumps and movement along the stairs. It is better that the animal does not need to move between the different levels of the house, so it is suggested that it has its space on the first floor.
Many specialists recommend physical activity in the water, since in it the animal can perform movements that do not generate pain and improve its condition. Gradual swimming sessions can be a great help for the pet.
Also, the owner must regulate the weight of the dog, taking care of his diet and preventing him from becoming overweight. Arthritis is usually complicated when the animal exceeds its ideal weight since the joints are much more demanded in that condition. A light and balanced diet, rich in antioxidants and omega 3 is ideal to improve your physical condition.
In the months of autumn and winter, the sensation of pain due to arthritis may intensify due to cold and humidity, so it is recommended to keep the animal warm and dry. Hot compresses in the joints can be a great relief.
Finally, the condition of the pet will be much more bearable if it is provided a relaxed life, avoiding stress irritation or situations that generate anxiety pictures. Tranquility and affection are essential to improve your quality of life.
Periodic review and annual check-ups at the veterinary clinic are very useful for detecting the clinical signs of arthritis from the beginning; Do not hesitate to remain alert to any abnormal situation in your pet’s movements.