Osteoarthritis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Osteoarthritis is a real scourge in dogs, especially from a certain age, since this disease can turn their life into hell. This bone disease, which can affect both knees, hips, spine, shoulders and elbows, mainly affects older dogs, and can prevent them from performing such basic actions as standing or walking.

It is therefore important to first know how to recognize a dog suffering from osteoarthritis, to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible on the one hand, but also to learn how to accompany your dog and relieve him as much as possible of this burden, on the other hand. go.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs

Osteoarthritis in dogs is recognized by the different stages of the disease. The more it progresses, the more difficult your dog has to perform different actions and tends to show that he is in pain.

At first, the dog refuses to do things that it has done naturally, such as running, jumping, or even sometimes getting up.

At a later stage, the dog will complain when he performs certain actions. Getting up or even walking is for him more and more difficult, even sometimes impossible.

He can also, despite himself, become aggressive when touching his painful joints, and, as a result, have the reflex to bite. Special care should be taken with children who tend to be clumsy and touch the dog sometimes brutally, and thus hurt him. Even the nicest dog in the world can have a bad reflex in the grip of pain, so be careful.

During this stage, the dog’s joints are very sensitive to cold and humidity. So do not hesitate in winter, or in rainy weather, to place your basket near a hot spot, such as a radiator or a fireplace (of course taking precautions so that nothing catches fire).

The most advanced stage is that of blockage. As the name suggests, the joints in some areas of the dog are completely blocked. This may slightly relieve some of his pain, but, on the other hand, prevent him from performing certain movements depending on the part of the body blocked.

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis in dogs

The diagnosis of osteoarthritis in dogs, especially at a fairly advanced stage, can be very painful for your pet. This is why the vet puts a muzzle on him in most cases.

Each of the dog’s joints is manipulated to allow the veterinarian to analyze the level of progression of osteoarthritis, but also to precisely define the affected joints.

Then, the dog first passes a general X-ray, then more specific X-rays of the areas affected by osteoarthritis, to determine the extent of the damage and be able to act effectively and prescribe the right medications.

If your dog is elderly, the veterinarian may also perform an analysis of his kidneys and his liver via a blood test which will be analyzed to find out which drugs he will be able to assimilate.

Treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which by definition cannot be cured. It can only be accompanied, so it is above all about relieving your dog of his pain.

The main treatments are based on anti-inflammatory drugs, but after a certain age some dogs can no longer take them. They therefore receive a derivative based on morphine which causes them regular fatigue. These treatments are administered either by pill, which the dog is swallowed in food, or directly by injection in a veterinary practice.

Cures or continuous intake of food supplements can reduce pain attacks, or even stop them if they are only just beginning.

There are also more natural techniques for relieving osteoarthritis in dogs. You can try osteopathy or fascia therapy, two “massage” methods, as well as swimming. But in most cases, anti-inflammatory treatment should be kept, as alternative therapies are not always sufficient to completely relieve the pain.

You can also try massaging your dog’s muscle surfaces yourself. Be careful, however, to do it gently and never press, especially if you don’t know anything about it. The goal is only to try to relax your dog.

Prevention of osteoarthritis in dogs

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is inevitable in older dogs, especially large ones. It happens sooner or later anyway.

The best you can do is to delay it as much as possible by playing your dog to work his muscles and joints. So, do not hesitate to make him do agility, rhythmic obeying, swimming or just go for a jog with him or throw him a ball regularly.

All these physical activities have a beneficial effect, and not the least: they prevent your dog from being overweight, one of the causes of the development of osteoarthritis since the joints must bear too much weight, with the effect of damaging them even more. .

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is an inevitable plague for our canine friends. It is up to you, as a master, to know how to act accordingly to help and relieve your dog who suffers on a daily basis because, even in difficult times, we remain our dog’s companion, and it is our duty to l ‘help when he needs it.

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