Arthritis is a disease of the joints. It can be caused by too much stress on the joints over a period of time, or it can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Like humans, dogs can get arthritis. Unlike humans, they cannot voice their pain aloud. This is why it is important for any dog owner to know the symptoms of arthritis in dogs and how to treat it. It is equally important to understand the different causes of arthritis and how it can be prevented.
Causes of dog arthritis
Arthritis can be either a degenerative condition or an inflammatory condition. Older dogs are more prone to degenerative arthritis because of the wear and tear on the joints. The joints hold the skeleton together and can be described to be like hinges. Cartilage protects the joints. The destruction of this cartilage is what causes arthritis in dog.
In some cases, the cause is unknown, although it is often due to excessive stress on the joints over a period of time. In other cases, arthritis just flares up. A disease like Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever can cause this condition in dogs.
Symptoms of dog arthritis
Because dogs cannot relay their feelings, a dog owner needs to watch for them. Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include the following:
Unable to run
Unwillingness to play
Difficulty getting up
Yelping or barking when touched
Difficulty climbing stairs
These symptoms should be checked out by a vet to diagnose arthritis. Because arthritis in dogs can be the result of an infection, dog owners should not just put this condition down to age.
Treatment of arthritis in dogs
Treatment of dog arthritis includes medication with painkillers in some cases. There are several medications on the market that can relieve the painful inflammation that comes with arthritis. Any medication given to the dog should be done so on the advice of a qualified vet.
Other treatment options include surgery in some cases. Making sure that the dog receives proper rest and is kept warm is also advised. A veterinarian is the best person to advise treatment for the dog in a case where arthritis has been diagnosed.
In the case of an infection that is causing an inflammatory arthritis, the underlying condition must be treated. Again, the vet will be able to prescribe treatment as well as pain killers to treat both the infection as well as the painful symptoms of the disease.
Prevention of dog arthritis
In the case of degenerative arthritis in dogs, owners can protect their dogs by making sure that they do not become overweight. Added weight puts strain on the cartilage and can cause arthritis. A healthy diet is necessary for the health of any dog and can help keep the dog at his proper weight.
Adequate rest is also necessary. Dogs should not be overworked without being allowed to rest. Many dogs will work themselves to exhaustion because they want to please their owners. Dog owners should make sure that their hunting companions are properly rested and kept warm after a day of hunting so that they can help to prevent this disease.
In addition, making sure that dogs do not fall prey to diseases that can cause arthritis is a key factor in prevention. Dogs should be protected against Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick or mosquito bite infections that can result in this painful inflammation of the joints.