Canine Arthritis

Not only humans can be affected by arthritis, dogs can develop many forms of arthritis too. These forms are classified according to the provocative cause and manner of the condition.  Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joint.  Canine arthritis can be caused by trauma, aging, ruptured ligaments or tendons, dysplasia or generative joint disease and lack of activity.  Several forms of canine arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis

Is the most common form of canine arthritis, and is also known as degenerative joint disease.  This for of arthritis is a slowly progressive disease involving the breakdown of the articular cartilage in a joint. This cartilage is a specialized tissue that covers surface of the bones that contact each other, providing lubrication and shock-absorption for the joint, allowing frictionless, pain-free movement. If this cartilage is damaged, osteoarthritis is set off.  Permanent damage, pain and inflammation are results of the body’s inability to repair the injured cartilage.

Infectious Arthritis

This form of arthritis results from growth of microorganisms in a joint, or the spread of an infection to a joint in a different place in the body, such as Lyme disease, which is a tick-transmitted microorganism that can affect one or several joints.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an uncommon canine arthritis and generally affects middle-aged to older small-breed dogs.

Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

Is a form of arthritis that is a polysystemic disease and often affects the joints.  The disease results in the body’s immune system attacking components of the body’s own cells, that results in damage to many organs including the joints, kidneys, lungs and skin.

Symptoms of canine arthritis

The dog appears to be in pain, unwilling to be picked up or touched in certain areas.

● Favoring a limb

Decreased activity level and lethargy

The dog has difficulty sitting or standing

Hesitancy in jumping

Typical sign of arthritis in dogs is stiffness in the morning

There are a variety of treatments for canine arthritis but unfortunately no cure.  The main element of treating canine arthritis is pain management. Pain relieving lotions are a safe way to treat the aches and stiffness of canine arthritis.  In severe cases, sometimes surgery is needed, however less extreme treatments are recommended for dogs.  The best way is always to consult a veterinarian if you suspect your dog to have arthritis; the vet can prescribe medication to reduce swelling and discomfort and discuss treatment.  A newer treatment for canine arthritis is dietary.  Sulfates like glucosamine and chondroitin have been found helpful in relieving inflammation and reducing the degenerative process in some dogs. They attract fluid to the join’s cartilage system helping the body repair damaged joints while keeping the cartilage destroying   enzymes under control.  It’s also been said to work as a preventative measure for dogs susceptible to arthritis.