Approximately 40% of all dogs have arthritis. Could your dog be suffering in silence?

What is arthritis?

  • There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis, essentially the same chronic condition that humans suffer from.
  • Healthy joints are covered by cartilage, a rubbery material that creates a cushion between the bones and provides a smooth surface for movement.
  • When arthritis occurs, this cartilage breaks down, causing swelling, stiffness, movement problems, and increasing pain, which steadily spreads throughout the body.
  • Arthritis is normally found in older dogs, although it can affect youngsters too.
  • It’s usually caused by natural wear and tear of the joints, but can also be linked to injuries, as well as joint abnormalities such as hip dysplasia.

How do I spot the symptoms?

Dogs are very good at hiding pain, which means they might not whimper or look obviously lame. Because our furry friends are four-legged (unlike us!), they are more adept at redistributing their weight to cope with discomfort. As a result, a limp can be harder to spot. Nevertheless, there are some signs to look out for:

  • Subdued or uncharacteristically grumpy behaviour
  • Using their front paws to pull their legs up or reach down instead of leaping, or being unable to jump
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning or when it’s cold
  • Changes in posture when running or laying down
  • Lameness, limping or hobbling
  • Less enthusiasm on walks or at playtime
  • Taking more breaks when moving around
  • Reluctance to climb stairs, jump onto the soda, or trouble getting into the back of the car
  • Sleepiness or general lack of energy
  • Climbing down the stairs by angling their body to the side, descending one stair at a time, and/or stopping for a break
  • Persistently licking their fur and/or joints
  • Difficulty grooming

The Good News

With proper management, the effects of osteoarthritis can be substantially reduced; enabling dogs to live happier and more active lives. Working in partnership with your vet to devise a complete care program can improve the quality of life for your dog and ease the management of canine osteoarthritis.

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