Bone and joint issues affect nearly all dogs at some stage in their life. These issues range from mild arthritis to major hip dysplasia, and can sometimes have significant effects on an animal’s quality of life. The good news is that with a little knowledge and care, there is much we can do as pet owners to help prevent bone and joint problems, and to help them heal if they arise.
Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. There are many forms of arthritis. People most commonly think of old age degenerative arthritis, where a joint becomes warn and stiff due to a lifetime of use, but arthritis can also occur due to damage from trauma such as a fall or accident, damage due to a badly aligned joint such as that seen in dogs with hip dysplasia, or in some cases due to infection.
Any dog or cat with joint pain or stiffness is very likely to have a degree of arthritis occurring. As arthritis progresses, the healthy smooth lubricated joint surface becomes roughened and irritated, causing further scratching and irritation and worsening the problem. For this reason, it is vital to control this before the arthritic inflammation causes permanent damage.
Any cause of joint inflammation and arthritis should be controlled with a combination of rest or reduced exercise, joint supplements including glucosamine and Omega 3 and in some cases medical treatment.
In many dogs, the joint inflammation is due to underlying structural issues with the joints – they’re not quite made perfectly and there is a constant rubbing or irritation. The four most common major joint issues in dogs are Patella luxation, Cruciate Rupture, Shoulder Dysplasia and Hip Dysplasia. Please click on these links for more information.