What Is It?
Arthritis is a joint problem that can reduce mobility and cause pain. Often seen in older dogs, arthritis can by caused by injury, infection, the body’s own immune system, or developmental problems. The most common form of arthritis is called osteoarthritis (osteo = bone; arthr = joint; itis = disease) or degenerative joint disease. Normally, joints form smooth connections between bones. Osteoarthritis involves thinning of joint cartilage (a protective cushioning between bones), buildup of fluid within the joint, and the formation of bony growths within the joint. Over time, this can lead to reduced joint mobility as well as pain. Osteoarthritis affects one of every five dogs.
Signs and Diagnosis
Recognizing arthritis in dogs can be difficult because the condition progresses slowly and dogs don't complain about their aching joints. Also, some owners assume that signs of arthritis are “normal” in older animals.
Bringing your dog in for an annual checkup can help your veterinarian identify clinical signs early. Radiography (x-rays) can reveal bony growths and joint abnormalities.
Regular, moderate exercise and a high-quality diet can help delay aging, manage body weight, and keep your dog’s musculoskeletal system in good shape. Ask your veterinarian to recommend an exercise program and a diet that are appropriate for your dog.
Many human and canine pain relievers are poisonous to cats.
Aids for Arthritic Dogs
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