2001-Tue Feb 28 02:50:46 EST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Osteoarthritis is a common disorder in dogs that involves the thinning of joint cartilage (the protective cushioning between the bones), the buildup of fluid within the joint, and the formation of bony growths within the joint. Over time, this process leads to reduced mobility and pain.
It's estimated that about 20 percent of
dogs over the age of one develop arthritis.
Several things can lead to the condition, including ligament injuries, fractures, obesity, degenerative joint disease, and such front and back leg developmental disorders as
elbow dysplasia and
Symptoms of arthritis are most noticeable after a dog has been resting, and the number-one sign of arthritis is pain, which can vary from mild to severe. Arthritis pain can cause additional symptoms, such as stiffness, limping, changes in behavior and a reluctance to get up, jump or go up and down stairs.
If your dog exhibits any of these signs, visit your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis.
With the right diet and exercise plan, as well as pain relief, you can improve your dog’s joint health and also quality of life.
Most importantly, dogs who stay at a normal body weight throughout life have a lower risk of getting arthritis. If arthritis does develop, it typically occurs later in life, tends to be less severe, and progresses more slowly in dogs of normal weight compared to those who are
overweight. The signs of arthritis often increase in overweight dogs, and many of them experience significant relief after shedding added pounds.
In addition to working with your veterinarian to develop a proper weight loss plan for an arthritic dog who's carrying extra pounds, daily exercise can help to maintain muscle strength, which is necessary to stabilize painful joints.
Swimming or leash walking are excellent forms of exercise for dogs with affected joints. Activities that should be avoided:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Dogs and cats help improve our mental,
social and physical health — and we
have the science to prove it!
We asked our readers to share the funny
things and skillful tricks their dogs will do
to get Milk-Bone® Pill…
It’s more than just cute when your kitty
naps in a box — it’s an instinctive
behavior that’s hardwired in her…
Herding dog, search-and-rescue dog, guide dog, police dog, farm dog — you name it, the German Shepherd can do it.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.