Cooper XXyrs - NYC

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints and can be caused by a wide variety of conditions such as infection, immune-mediated disease, trauma and metabolic issues.  The most common form of arthritis in dogs however, is due to degenerative changes caused by age or overuse.  While all dogs can be affected by arthritis, certain factors increase a dog’s risk.  Large breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are more prone to arthritis, and obese dogs are more likely to develop it than their fit counterparts.  Additionally older dogs are prone to arthritis because of the years of wear and tear on their joints.

Arthritis can be mild to severe; your four-legged friend may experience different signs depending on the severity of the arthritis.  Signs and symptoms include: lameness, swollen joints, popping and cracking when the joint moves, muscle wasting (the muscles by the joint become smaller), slow to rise up from a resting position, unwillingness to walk, jump, or climb stairs, whining, panting, or whimpering

In order to treat your dog’s arthritis, your veterinarian will want to perform a physical examination and will perform simple motion tests and observe your dog’s movements.  Once your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, your veterinarian will recommend a treatment protocol tailored to your pet’s specific needs.

Treatments may include

  • Treating the underlying cause of arthritis if possible
  • Prescribing medications to help decrease the inflammation in the joint and control the pain
  • Dietary management, if your dog is overweight
  • Nutritional supplements thought to help lubricate the joint and help rebuild joint cartilage

If your dog is put on a medication such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, your veterinarian may recommend routine blood tests to monitor your pet’s tolerance to the medication.

While not all forms of arthritis are preventable, you can help reduce your dog’s risk by ensuring your best friend get plenty of  appropriate exercise, eats properly and by contacting your veterinarian if you think your pet may have arthritis.