Dogs exhibit arthritis symptoms in different ways. Some dogs will limp, other dogs will be less willing to do routine activities (such as going for walks or playing), some dogs will lick the affected area constantly. Generally, owners will notice a decrease in activity or difficulty getting up after rest. Some dogs become more irritable and less likely to join in activities they previously liked to do.
What causes arthritis in dogs?
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint becomes damaged. The cartilage is a cushion between the bones in a joint which acts as a shock absorber. Damage to the cartilage can be caused by wear and tear, trauma, obesity, ageing, unstable joints or athletic injury (such as repetitive jumping). Some causes of arthritis are the result of congenital abnormalities (such as hip dysplasia).
What are some treatment options for arthritis in dogs?
There are things that can be done to help a dog living with arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. Excessive weight puts additional stress on all joints. Maintaining a healthy lean body weight helps reduce the need for medications to control the discomfort that comes with arthritis. Joint supplements, such as Glucosamine, have been used with benefit in dogs. Other treatment options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (also known as NSAID) have been used to reduce inflammation and pain. No single NSAID will work for all dogs so the veterinarian must tailor a treatment for each individual dog.
Can I give my dog aspirin?
Aspirin can be used in some dogs but a proper dose must be determined by a veterinarian before it should be used. As with all NSAIDs, aspirin has side effects that can be dangerous for your dog’s health. No medication should ever be administered to your dog without checking with your veterinarian first. There are also safer, dog specific alternatives available.