Has your dog started to get up slowly, take longer for the daily walk
or has difficulty getting into the car?
He may be suffering from joint discomfort or one of the following:
Degenerative Joint Disease
Hip, Knee and Elbow Dysplasia
Symptoms of Joint Deterioration
• Stiffness - in the morning or after lying down for an extended period of time
• Limping or lameness
• Reluctance to climb stairs
• Swollen or visible joint deformities
• Trouble jumping up onto furniture or the bed
• Winces in pain when touched
• Reluctant to run or engage in normal play
• Continuously licks a specific joint
• Appetite loss, lethargy or depression
Deterioration of joint cartilage
Arthritis is a fairly common disease with symptoms that appear gradually and slowly worsen over time. It typically appears in one of the main joints in dogs that have suffered an injury or are prone to inherited orthopedic problems related to hip dysplasia. It may also occur in dogs with physical deformities, joint infections and those with immune system deficiencies.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative joint disease that occurs when the joint becomes damaged. The smooth cartilage that protects and covers the bone of the joint breaks down and wears away - the two bones become exposed, the friction from rubbing together causes pain and inflammation. This may result from rigorous daily activity, trauma from injury, hip dysplasia, other congenital joint abnormalities or ruptured cruciate ligaments.
Management of our companion's health is key.
We all know the discomfort we feel from over-exercise, injury and the stiffness associated with aging; our dogs can't tell us but their level of activity is clear. As pet owners, we can help relieve our canine's pain, improve joint function, slow the symptoms of mobility-related issues and stimulate the body’s ability to repair affected joints where possible...
Early diagnosis is important to the comfort and well-being of your companion and some outward signs of arthritis can mimic those of other disorders. If your dog shows any of the symptoms above, an appointment with your veterinarian will offer many treatment options depending on the severity of the case. These may include weight loss or management programs, physical, hydro and low-level laser therapy, oral joint supplements like RxMobility®, prescription medication, acupuncture and even massage.
Although there is no definitive cure for degenerative joint disease, the many options available can significantly improve your dog's quality of life. In cases of severe osteoarthritis, where non-surgical treatment doesn't resolve the dog's discomfort, a surgical procedure may be considered. The painful recovery period from surgery can include debilitating symptoms already associated with the disorder.
Treatment options may start with the modification of his diet as the associated weight loss can decrease the discomfort associated with arthritis. Increased mobility will help him to resume normal daily activities and regain the freedom associated with a healthy quality of life. Moderate exercise such as low-impact, on-leash walks, swimming and stimulation of the affected limbs are also helpful to increase circulation, maintain muscle mass, repair cartilage and to delay joint degeneration. Non-surgical treatment options depend on the age and general state of your pet's health.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW
Making your dog more comfortable at home increases the efficacy of any other treatment options that you may pursue.
Start by making sure that they have a firm orthopedic foam bed with warm, soft bedding and engage in short, gentle play sessions daily followed by massage or physical therapy. A raised feeder for water and food bowls will help your pet avoid neck and spine strain as will a dog ramp to allow them access into the car or other areas where they might have to jump or climb. Don't forget to keep your pet's nails clipped properly so their walking and running gait is not distorted by abnormal stress placed on the joints and ligaments of the feet. Technology now provides many solutions for pets whose mobility has been compromised - there are many canine "wheelchairs" that will allow your dog to get that all-important daily exercise and regain the freedom he once had outdoors.
Monitor your dog's health carefully and give them the love and attention they deserve!
The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are in no way provided to diagnose any disease or to suggest products mentioned will treat, cure and/or prevent any disease.