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- How can arthritis be diagnosed in dogs?
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How can arthritis be diagnosed in dogs?
Arthritis in dogs is a common condition in most dog breeds, especially larger dog breeds like Labradors often develop Osteoarthritis when reaching older age. Early symptoms detection improves effective treatment in senior dogs.
Before we dig into ways you can alleviate your Labrador’s arthritis pain, let’s discuss the symptoms and treatment of arthritis in older dogs.
Arthritis is a common, painful and debilitating disease that afflicts many domestic dogs. Commonly described as a breakdown of joint cartilage, osteoarthritis is actually a disease that afflicts the entire joint , including the cartilage, bones and synovium (a membrane that surrounds the cartilage and contains synovial fluid).
The end result is discomfort, pain and, eventually, depression – all of which combine to reduce your dog’s quality of life.
A number of different musculoskeletal problems have been reported in Labrador Retrievers. While it may seem overwhelming, each condition can be diagnosed and treated to prevent undue pain and suffering. With diligent observation at home and knowledge about the diseases that may affect your friend’s bones, joints, or muscles, you will be able to take great care of him throughout his life. Both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the joints to develop improperly and results in arthritis. Stiffness in your Labrador’s elbows or hips may become a problem for him, especially as he matures.
For dogs that are symptomatic, early intervention is the best way to maintain good quality of life and this usually requires some form of surgical invention. If the condition goes untreated, this can cause progression of the arthritis, lifelong pain and difficulty walking or running. The most important way to take care of any young dog diagnosed with arthritis is to manage their weight. Dogs that are too heavy have greater stress and strain on their joints, will be less inclined to exercise and may be in chronic pain. A dog is at an ideal body condition (weight) when you can feel a dog’s ribs but not see them.
Arthritis Does Not Only Affect Senior Dogs
Osteoarthritis affects about 3. 3% to 3. 6% of the population globally. It is the 11th most debilitating disease around the world, causing moderate to severe disability in 43 million people. 80% of the united states population over 65 years old has radiographic evidence of arthritis, with 60% of this subset having symptoms (radiographic arthritis is at least twice as common as symptomatic Osteoarthritis). Note changes on radiograph do not prove that oa is the cause of the patient’s joint pain. In 2011, there were almost 1 million hospitalizations for Osteoarthritis with an aggregate cost of nearly $15 billion making it the second most expensive disease seen in the united states.
When arthritis is diagnosed in dogs, many owners with feel true empathy. They know what it’s like to have achy, stiff joints, so they make it a top priority to ease their pets’ discomfort. When Carol noticed her dog limping last year, she went right to the vet. The diagnosis: knee osteoarthritis (oa). Carol has oa, too – in her right wrist. She occasionally takes an over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (nsaid). But abe gets the prescription nsaid carprofen (rimadyl) daily. “i’m not one of those people who just sits around thinking about my aches and pains,” carol says.
Arthritis in senior dogs is one of the most common health problems diagnosed by veterinarians every year. Study data reveals that as many as 1 in 4 dogs in the united states suffer from some form of canine arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for joint inflammation that can be due to trauma, infection, congenital issues, structural problems, or autoimmune disease,, and although arthritis is more common as pets age, younger pets can have issues, as well.
Osteoarthritis is Incurable
There is no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments, the most common being joint supplements and pain medications,. Other treatment options are massage therapy, underwater treadmill therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments and laser therapy. For pet parents looking for available arthritis treatments for dogs, there are some supplements that can help. Glucosamine and chondroitin are frequently used, but always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog supplements. If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, there are a couple of other things that you can do to help keep them comfortable.
As we age, there are things we know to expect. A decrease in the quality of our eyesight, a loss of skin elasticity, and frequently, arthritis. These age-related changes aren’t specific to people—our pets experience them too. For example, these are signs your dog may have arthritis. Studies estimate that 20 percent of middle-aged dogs will be diagnosed with canine osteoarthritis. While there are several types of medicine for dogs that help with pain and inflammation associated with arthritis (there is no cure), many of them have unpleasant side effects, so frequently owners look for alternative treatments.
How can I manage my dog’s arthritis?
Canine arthritis is the biggest cause of chronic pain for older dogs. It affects at least 1 in 5 dogs (likely even more!). The best thing we can do for our dogs is to recognize the early symptoms of arthritis and take a comprehensive approach to manage pain. There are many things you can do to help the older dogs in your life stay active and enjoy a high quality of life, whether they have canine arthritis or are at risk for developing it!
but it can be hard to know what really helps. Regular exercise, done correctly, is one of the best things you can do to help your senior dog stay healthy and active. Exercise can also lessen the impact of canine arthritis.
There is no cure for arthritis, but the pain can often be managed with anti-inflammatories and/or painkillers. Relieving pain improves mobility which helps to maintain supporting muscle mass. Weight control is vital in managing symptoms and supplements such as yumove are said to reduce stiffness, promote better joint health and increase mobility. But dogs with arthritis are likely to need medication; your vet will be able to advise on this. Massage, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy may also help. In some cases, surgery may be advised but it’s unlikely that surgery will restore perfect joint function for life. New therapies, such as stem cell therapy, are also becoming more available for dogs and some seem to yield promising results.
How You Can Ease Your Senior Dog’s Arthritis Pain
Osteoarthritis can be difficult to detect in its early stages, and often the symptoms do not become apparent until the affected joint is badly damaged. Some dogs can also be very stoic and will hide their pain until it becomes severe. Thus, it is important to monitor middle-aged to senior dogs and those predisposed to osteoarthritis for early signs of joint disease.
These signs include:
- stiffness, lameness, or difficulty getting up;
- irritability or changes in behavior;
- pain when petted or touched.
Both hips and elbows are at risk for dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the joints to develop improperly and results in arthritis. Stiffness in your Labrador’s elbows or hips may become a problem for him, especially as he matures. You may notice that he begins to show lameness in his legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We can treat the arthritis—the sooner the better—to minimize discomfort and pain. We’ll take x-rays of your dog’s bones to identify issues as early as possible. Surgery is also sometimes a good option in severe and life-limiting cases.
These are often prescribed to improve function, reduce inflammation, and slow the progression of joint damage. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two common joint supplement ingredients that are used in both humans and dogs. These supplements work by reducing inflammation, promoting healing, and increasing water retention in the cartilage, which provides more cushioning for the joint. Green-lipped mussel (glm) is another proven joint supplement ingredient for both humans and dogs and contains beneficial nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and antioxidants. Glm is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help decrease pain and preserve joint function. Joint supplements like glyde mobility chews are often used as an early intervention and throughout the progression of osteoarthritis because they are safe for long-term use in most patients.
Weight Management Improves Arthritis Symptoms
Research has also shown that even a small decrease in weight can reduce lameness (pain or discomfort) in dogs with osteoarthritis. A 10% weight loss in dogs with hip osteoarthritis (secondary to hip dysplasia) was found to have vast improvement in their lameness
No matter what your dog’s joint health looks like, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. In dogs with osteoarthritis, carrying excess weight on damaged joints is not only painful, but can also speed up the process of cartilage breakdown. In healthy dogs, obesity can predispose them to earlier development of osteoarthritis, as well as many other diseases. If your dog is overweight or obese, your veterinarian is your best resource to help you begin a diet and exercise plan to improve your dog’s health.
If your older dog is showing signs of osteoarthritis you’ll want to help him feel better as quickly as possible – as well as work to slow down the progress of the disease. There are lots of simple things you can do, and changes you can make, at home that will help him feel more comfortable. Also, certain medications and natural supplements can relieve pain, increase joint mobility, reduce inflammation and more. To learn more about the treatment options for canine osteoarthritis check out this page…. Osteoarthritis | Early Signs In Labrador Retrievers
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Related Questions about Arthritis, Symptoms and Treatment in Senior Dogs
There are some of the available NSAIDs just for dogs:
- carprofen (Novox or Rimadyl)
- deracoxib (Deramaxx)
- firocoxib (Previcox)
- meloxicam (Metacam )
Dogs at Risk for Arthritis
It can also occur more often in breeds with hereditary conditions linked to arthritis. For instance, Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers tend to have a luxating patella, and Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, and Labrador Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia.
- Antisocial or aggressive behaviour;
- Changes in eating, drinking, and sleeping habits;
- Being more vocal;
- Excessive grooming;
- Heavy panting or altered breathing;
- Mobility issues;
- Signs of agitation;
- Changes in their body and posture;
- Shaking or trembling.
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How Is Chronic Joint Pain In Dogs Diagnosed?
To determine whether your dog has joint pain due to osteoarthritis, your veterinarian may use diagnostics such as:
- Physical exam, to check for localized pain and swelling
- Radiographs, to look for abnormalities
- Gait evaluation and limb manipulation, to assess mobility
- Joint-fluid analysis, to rule out other causes
Observation of your dog at home is another powerful diagnostic tool. Unless they’re experiencing acute, sharp pain, dogs rarely vocalize, so it’s important to monitor their habits and behavior. The symptoms of arthritis related joint pain in dogs can be subtle in the early stages.
Be on the lookout for these signs in your dog.
- Decreased energy levels/sleeping more
- Reduced interest in physical activity
- Negative reactions to being petted or touched in specific areas
- Difficulty lying down or getting up
- Reluctance to climb stairs, jump on furniture or jump into the car
- Soiling accidents in the house
- Increased panting or drooling (may indicate stress or pain)
- General irritability (chronic pain)
- Vocalizing with certain movements
Treating Chronic Join Pain At Home
At this point, there’s no cure for joint pain due to osteoarthritis, but there are an increasing number of options that can help your dog with pain; increase mobility; and, in some cases, slow the degeneration of joint cartilage. A multi-modal treatment plan that includes a combination of medicine, supportive care and home remedies has been shown to be the most successful.
Consult with your veterinarian before introducing these into your dog’s treatment plan. Your vet can help you determine the most appropriate strategies for weight loss as well as other therapies.
•Maintaining a healthy weight is an essential component to managing osteoarthritis joint pain in dogs. Obese dogs are more likely to develop arthritis because excess weight puts more pressure on joints, leading to increased stress. It’s important to discuss your dog’s weight with your veterinarian and create a weight-loss plan if needed.
•CBD (cannabidiol, a cannabinoid derivative) is believed to reduce both pain and anxiety, and many pet owners are trying it for the treatment of canine joint pain. It is thought to be safe in combination with other medications, though it is partially metabolized by the same metabolic pathway as NSAIDs, so monitoring for possible side effects is advised.
• At-home activities depend on the dog and the severity of her joint pain, but a 10-minute walk two or three times a day rather than one long walk is a good rule of thumb. Because excitement and activity release endorphins and adrenaline, dogs may feel less pain when exercising, allowing them to overdo.
• You can also gently massage your dog’s sore spots to increase blood flow, and apply alternating cold and heat to the affected areas.
• Spending leisure time with your dog outdoors is also good medicine. Sunlight stimulates the body to produce vitamin D, which supports the immune system, reduces inflammation, strengthens joints and aids in calcium absorption. Enjoying some fresh air will also help your dog’s mood if pain has her feeling down.
• Joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM and others (see box) are referred to as nutraceuticals. They can be very helpful in reducing joint discomfort and may also allow reductions in the dosage and frequency of pharmaceutical drugs when used in combination. Nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA and the quality and potency of supplements may vary, so it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for recommendations on which ones to try.
Best Supplements For Chronic Joint Pain
Many products contain combinations of supplements on this list. •Glucosamine
• Chondroitin sulfate
• Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
• MSM (methylsulfonylmethane)
• Green-lipped mussel
• SOD (superoxide dismutase)
• Fortetropin (fertilized chicken egg yolk powder)
• ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables, available as Dasuquin)
• Sea cucumber