Osteoarthritis, which also goes by the name degenerative joint disease (DJD), is permanent and progressive deterioration of the cartilage surrounding joints over a period of time.
What Is The Difference Between Osteoarthritis And Arthritis?
While arthritis is defined by the inflammation of joints, osteoarthritis refers to long term chronic joint inflammation which is caused by the deterioration of the joint cartilage.
Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
Although older dogs are at higher risk of having Osteoarthritis, it can present itself in dogs of all ages. The symptoms of degenerative joint disease can vary, but in most cases your dog will exhibit a decreased level of activity. You will notice your dog’s leg being stiff, and the stiffness worsening with exercise and cold weather.
What Causes Osteoarthritis In Dogs?
Although there are no known primary causes for osteoarthritis, it can be brought on by trauma, abnormal wear on joints, or a defect present at birth such as hip dysplasia. If your dog has had a dislocation in their knee, shoulder, or hip, it can bring on DJD earlier in your dog’s life.
Obesity And Osteoarthritis
Obesity is a big factor of osteoarthritis. Since a dog’s weight determines the pressure put on its joints, if a dog is overweight, he or she puts more pressure on their joints. This causes the joints to wear down faster.
How To Tell If My Dog Has Osteoarthritis
If your dog is showing the signs of osteoarthritis listed above, it is best to bring our dog to the vet, and let the vet know you are worried about your dog having DJD. Your vet will be able to better help you understand how to treat osteoarthritis in your dog, and can give prescription medication to your dog if necessary.
Treating A Dog With Osteoarthritis
Unfortunately there is no cure for DJD, but there are ways to slow it, as well as ease any pain your dog may be in. A dog can have surgery to help alleviate the symptoms, which could be reconstructive procedures, or joint removal & replacement. There are also physical therapies and special exercises you can perform with your dog to help slow DJD. Things like swimming and massages can help give joints motion without putting pressure on your dog’s joints. Pain from osteoarthritis can also be managed by cold and heat therapy. Long term medication can also be helpful with some dogs needing anti-inflammatory drugs to help prevent osteoarthritis.
Preventing Arthritis In Dogs
The most important thing is prompt treatment of DJD. It is important to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis before it becomes an issue. If your dog has had some sort of trauma, you should be extra vigilant to spot arthritis when it first appears. Keeping your dog in share with regular exercise, and providing a healthy diet for your dog is also important for treatment.