So... what is arthritis?
 

Arthritis is medically defined as the inflammation of joints of the body. The inflammation being common in many dogs results in discomfort, pain, and stiffness of joints. Dogs who suffer from arthritis have damaged joint cartilage. Cartilage is essential for the smooth movement of joints.
 

Dogs whose joint cartilage is damaged because of arthritis suffer from discomfort and pain every time the cartilage rubs over each other. It results in increased friction between joints, and the joint becomes stiffer. The new condition that is developed is then called degenerative joint disease (DJD). Once the DJD develops, it becomes impossible to treat arthritis.
 

What are the causes of arthritis?

You may say that arthritis is the disease of older dogs. But actually, this disease develops at an early age. It is a slowly progressive disease that develops over time without showing significant signs and symptoms. The disease may affect one joint or many joints, depending on the cause. In most cases, arthritis develops because of the abnormal rubbing of the joint cartilage. There are many causes of abnormal rubbing. The most common of these causes are as follows.
 

  • Joint instability that may be caused by damaged ligament

  • Damage that may be caused by trauma or fracture

  • Abnormal development or damage to the joint cartilage
     

What are the signs and symptoms of arthritis?

The signs and symptoms of arthritis may be significant or non-significant depending on the severity of the disease. I have discussed that arthritis may develop at an early age without expressing significant signs. As the disease progresses, the signs and symptoms become significant. The most important factor in treating arthritis is the time of diagnosis of the disease. The early we make the diagnosis, the better are the chances of recovery. Your dog may show the following signs and symptoms.
 

  • Lameness or joint stiffness

  • Unwillingness or exercise

  • Saliva staining or licking of joint

  • Lesser activity than usual

  • Signs become worse in cold and damp

  • Your dog becomes grumpy
     

How can you diagnose arthritis?

The diagnosis of arthritis is not tough at all. A general physical examination is enough to diagnose an arthritic joint in most cases. Your veterinarian is skilled in diagnosing the inflamed joint upon flexion and extension. The arthritic joint is identified by having inflammation and discomfort upon handling.
 

In some cases, your veterinarian may take the help of laboratory tests such as x-ray to identify the arthritic area. In rare cases, your veterinarian may conduct a blood test to rule out the chances of the presence of other diseases. In short, the diagnosis is not a difficult task once arthritis starts to show its effects.
 

How can you treat arthritis?

Arthritis is a kind of disease that can be treated in days. When your veterinarian suspects arthritis in your dog, they may require treatment over different occasions within your dog's lifetime. The treatments also differs greatly in terms of timescale and medication. The best treatment is aimed to provide your dog with immediate and long-term recovery.
 

Along with the medicinal interventions, veterinarians prescribe the use of harnesses to aid the healing process. We at Quincydogs offer three different kinds of harnesses designed to help your dog take the long leap forward in recovering from arthritis. The three premium products are as follows.
 

  1. Spero mobility harness

  2. GenX harness

  3. Belly sling
     

Our products are designed to focus on aiding your dog with comfortable walks. The differentiating point of our product from other market products is that we have focused on pressure points of the body. Our harness leavates pressure from specific pressure areas which allows and helps the dog manage the arthritis. Other than arthritis, our products are helpful in the following conditions.
 

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Cruciate ligament injury

  • Degenerative myelopathy

  • Spinal injury
     

What are the non-medical approaches to minimize the aches and pain of arthritis?

Treating arthritis involves medical and non-medical approaches to relieve your dog out of pain and discomfort. Arthritis treatment runs for longer; therefore, non-medical approaches are adopted to gain maximum outputs.
 

Weight control

If your dog is overweight, he puts more pressure on joints, worsening the condition. On the contrary, if your dog loses his weight, it helps minimise the stress on joints. Studies have shown that losing weight has dramatically improved lameness and mobility in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis.
 

Food

Fatty acids are famous for improving the dog's skin and coat. To your surprise, they can do much more than that. Studies have shown that omega-three fatty acids are responsible for reducing the inflammation of joints, helping limit cartilage damage, and reducing the symptoms of arthritis.
 

Exercise

Light to moderate exercise is helpful to reduce joint stiffness and keep them mobile. The extent of exercise depends on the individual dog. However, the best exercise is swimming, in which there is minimum impact on joints.
 

Acupuncture and massage

Although modern-day scientific studies lack evidence, the anecdotal reports make us believe that acupuncture and massage therapies are very helpful in reducing body pain and relieving joint inflammation.
 

CBD oil

CBD is a modern-day solution to reduce pain and joint inflammation. CBD is an effective natural treatment of arthritis because it contains chemical compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and have proved to be relieving in arthritic conditions.
 

Final thoughts

Dogs are prone to arthritic conditions; it is important to take proper care and prevent the worse from happening. If you take proper care of your pet with a good quality diet, proper exercise, and grooming, the chances of occurrence of arthritis become very less.

written by: 

Dr Saba Afzal, DVM, RVMP

M.phil in Microbiology.
 

Vet treatment for arthritis in dogs

Arthritis in dogs
 

Arthritis in dogs is a common degenerative disease of joints. This disease is prevalent in older dogs; old age and heavy weight are the main contributing factor of this disease. The data shows amazing facts; 20% of dogs having age of more than one year and 80% of dogs over eight years are affected with arthritis. Read on to know further about this so much prevalent disease.