Arthritis in dogs is a huge problem for dogs everywhere. Dog arthritis can affect a dog’s quality of life. In this video, Dr. Sam discusses dog arthritis, it’s causes, how to diagnose it and three general treatment modalities. Predisposing factors for dog arthritis include a dog’s conformation and body weight.
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Arthritis in dogs is quite prevalent especially among the larger breeds. Arthritis needs to be separated into two main categories: 1) inflammation of the joint, and 2) inflammation of the joint and bone structures associated with the joint otherwise known as osteoarthritis.
In dogs, the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can be caused by conformational problems usually as a result of genetics, injury or being overweight, and sometimes a combination of all three.
Genetic causes of conformational problems for osteoarthritis in dogs include hip and elbow dysplasia as well as osteochondritis dissecans. Your veterinarian can help you figure out whether your dog has any of these conformational problems.
Of course, dogs without obvious genetic conformational conditions may still have legs that predispose them to arthritis later in life.
Injury to any of the ligamentous structures in and around the joint or direct injury to the joint cartilage can also predispose your dog to arthritis. Some of these
injuries can be repaired surgically at the time of the injury to ward off possible arthritis at a later date.
If you have a large breed dog that is overweight, arthritis later in life is a definite possibility. If your dog has conformational issues and/or previous joint injury, it is especially important to keep your dog lean to keep the wear and tear to a minimum on your dog's legs and joints. If you cannot feel your dog's ribs easily, then your dog is overweight.
Dogs diagnosed with osteoarthritis are best treated with a combination of anti-inflammatories, joint supplements and weight loss (if overweight). Supplements containing chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and omega fatty acids seem to help arthritic dogs.
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