Arthritis in Pets, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment. Arthritis, a chronic degenerative disease that affects one or more joints in the body, is very common in senior dogs.
It is one of the major reasons for pain and stiffness in dogs. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no cure for arthritis, but there are several ways to treat it. However, the best way to save your pet from suffering is by being aware of its causes and symptoms and of the ways to deal with joint pain.
Causes of joint pain
The deterioration of the cartilage surrounding a joint causes arthritic joint pain. Upon ageing, the tissues surrounding the joint capsule become more easily inflamed and the joint fluid thins, resulting in less lubrication for the joint. As this process progresses, the condition worsens, causing the bony structures to rub against one another, which causes pain and discomfort in pets.
The worst part about arthritis is that the pain never goes away (unless treated), as joint pain reduces your pets’ activity levels and they may refuse to go for walks or face difficulty climbing stairs. The reduced activity mostly leads to weight gain, which puts even more strain on the joints. More strain leads to inflammation, which causes more joint pain.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Usually, senior pets are prone to arthritis, but it can develop at any age for a variety of reasons. Watch out for these signs as they may indicate arthritis:
- Reluctance to move, jump, climb or run
- Weight gain
- Biting or licking the joints
- Limping or lameness
- Muscle atrophy
- Yelping when touched
- Behavioural changes
Ways to deal with arthritis in pets
Manage your pet’s weight and diet
As discussed above, weight gain is one of the stages of the joint pain cycle which leads to even more joint pain. Shedding some pounds will take some of the strain off your dog’s bones and joints. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin sulphate can also help relieve arthritic symptoms.
Encourage an active lifestyle
It is critical to keep those arthritic joints moving in order to avoid stiffness and pain. If your pet has symptoms of arthritis, he may be less enthusiastic about walks and may have less stamina. Despite all this, exercise is essential. Take your pets for multiple short walks instead of a long walk. Surfaces such as grass or dirt paths are often easier on their joints, and swimming is an excellent form of exercise for ageing joints. Proper exercise may help you rebuild muscle loss.
Get a soft dog bed
A pet with stiff joints may find it difficult to get comfortable in a flat or lumpy bed. Orthopedic beds that are easily available in the market will provide cushioning for tender joints. A supportive bed is also essential for thin dogs, whose bones would otherwise rub uncomfortably on hard surfaces.
Make time for massage and grooming
Dedicate a few minutes of your time to make your dog feel better. Massage can help your dog’s mobility and flexibility, as well as improve circulation and relaxation. You can knead your dog’s stiff muscles gently or you can make an appointment with a professional pet massage therapist. Grooming is essential for arthritic pets as they may find trouble grooming themselves. Brush your dog’s hair on a regular basis to remove matting and tangles, and always be gentle. Moreover, arthritic dogs may have trouble gaining traction, and long nails will make it even harder for your dog to walk so make sure to trim them.
Consult your vet
It is essential to treat arthritis as soon as possible to prevent the issue from worsening, so consulting your vet would be a smart choice. Anti-inflammatory medication, dietary supplements and chondroprotective agents will help you deal with your pet’s condition. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether these treatments are appropriate for your dog.
The Final Word
Arthritis isn’t certainly fun for either you or your dog. But it’s not the end of the world, and there is nothing to fear. With your veterinarian’s help and a dose of patience and compassion, you can see your dog through this painful situation and get back to games of fetch in the backyard in no time.
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