Old Age Isn’t Always the Cause of Arthritis in Dogs
When a pet owner hears that their dog has arthritis, they tend to assume that their pet is just “old” and that’s what comes with aging. That’s not always the case. Old age can bring with it a number of pet ailments, from diabetes to cancer. But aging is not a disease and with the right preventive care, most pets can age gracefully.
When we see arthritis in dogs, we often see a different reason for joint conditions like arthritis…and it isn’t their age. Read on to learn more about Oakland Veterinary Referral Services’ overview of arthritis in dogs.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
The condition of osteoarthritis in dogs is caused by an inflammation or degeneration of a single joint or multiple joints. This ongoing inflammation causes pain and interferes in a pet’s daily life and level of mobility.
Certain signs of arthritis in dogs can alert you to this disorder. These include:
- Difficulty climbing and descending steps
- Trouble finding the right position to rest in
- Lameness in one or more legs
- Reluctance to exercise
- Unable to jump up on bed or other furniture
- Swollen joints
- Avoids being touched
- Licks at a specific area of the body
- Aggression or changes in behavior
Obesity and Arthritis
Obesity is an epidemic among pets, and at an alarming rate during the pandemic. Being overweight heavily impacts wear and tear on the joints, and speeds up the process of them “wearing out.” Over 50% of cats and dogs are overweight or obese in the United States. Keeping your pet at their correct weight can avoid mobility issues and arthritis.
Another thing we know that is true of obesity is that fat cells produce a hormone called leptin, which increases inflammation. This is why it is ever more important to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
Other Causes of Arthritis
Along with obesity, there are some other known causes that precipitate osteoarthritis in dogs and cats. These include:
- Body build
- Abnormal joint conditions, such as patella luxation and hip dysplasia
- Orthopedic surgery
- Dogs who participate in high energy sports and competitions that impact the joints
Treating Pet Osteoarthritis
There is no one method of treatment, although there are many options. A lot depends on the severity of the condition and the cause. If your dog is overweight, we will adjust their diet through changes to their nutritional needs. Most arthritis treatment aims to minimize pain by using medications like Gabapentin and anti-inflammatories.
If your dog is coping with the pain of arthritis, please contact us so that we can help. There are many things we can do to increase your dog’s quality of life and decrease discomfort.